Clean Energy

Clean energy offers a significant opportunity to diversify the rural economy while generating cheap, renewable power for rural homes and businesses.

Wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects help revitalize rural communities by taking advantage of their rich energy resources. New tax revenue from these projects help shore up local infrastructure, like schools and emergency services, while reducing the local tax burden on rural people. Meanwhile, farmers and landowners receive land-lease payments from project developers in an unpredictable farm economy. In addition, new jobs are created by the increased demand for local manufacturing and project operators.

To maximize the impact of clean energy development, a critical need arises for new and upgraded transmission capacity to carry renewable energy generated across wide geographic areas to consumers. Investing in transmission infrastructure creates new access to clean energy and allows rural economies in the Midwest and Great Plains to unlock their clean energy potential.

We aim to assist landowners and other rural stakeholders to ensure that clean energy transmission is built in an equitable, sustainable way—a way that works best for rural citizens and their communities.

Click here to view our wind energy story map, and watch the video below to see how the small town of Petersburg, Nebraska, realized its clean energy potential. Check out our clean energy transmission database, which provides project details on proposed or newly developed transmission projects in the Midwest and Great Plains.
 


 

Clean Energy Notes

 

White Paper Recap: Electric Transmission Capacity and Renewable Energy

The United States’ electric transmission network was originally designed to connect large, fossil fuel-powered plants to population centers with high demand. The way we generate electricity has changed significantly, and the existing electric grid often fails to meet the needs of new generation.

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Capacity for Change: The Role of Transmission Infrastructure in Energy Transition

The nature of electricity in the U.S. has undergone significant change. A growing renewable energy industry has created competition for traditional fossil fuel generating resources in the marketplace. American consumers—both residential and commercial—have also voiced demand for cleaner electricity, leading utilities to pursue greater investment in renewables. Meanwhile, considerations for the retirement or conversion of aging generation with significant carbon emissions has grown, in particular coal-fired power plants.

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Wind turbine technology program blows in opportunity for students and small towns

The U.S. is home to one of the largest and fastest-growing wind markets in the world, and many states are taking advantage of that by developing wind farms to generate clean, renewable energy.

Programs all over the country exist to train technicians to work on those wind farms. One such program exists in Mitchell, South Dakota, at Mitchell Technical Institute. There, technicians are trained to install, inspect, maintain, operate, and repair wind turbines. They are able to diagnose and fix any problem that could cause the turbine to shut down unexpectedly.

Transmission upgrades needed to adapt to changing landscape

As more renewable energy is developed across the nation, regulators and policymakers must prepare for the changing electric power landscape. Clean power commitments have increased at the county and city levels, with 11 counties and 104 cities nationwide pledging to 100 percent clean energy goals at the end of 2018.

The Center for Rural Affairs recently released a white paper, “Capacity for Change: The Role of Transmission Infrastructure in Energy Transition,” which takes a look at an electric transmission system that is evolving to take advantage of clean energy resources.