Clean Energy

Clean energy offers a significant opportunity to diversify the rural economy, create new opportunity and address the root cause of climate change.

Wind energy and other renewable energy will revitalize rural communities rich in energy resources. When the Nebraska legislature held a hearing on wind development, one group of citizens drove 400 miles to testify that for the first time in memory, there was renewed hope for the future of their community. The economics are clear.

To maximize the impact, there is a critical need for new and upgraded transmission capacity to unlock the renewable energy potential found in rural America. Both our economy and our future depend on moving power from the remote regions of the Great Plains and Upper Midwest to the demand centers that need it most.

Our goal is to better 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. Those affected by new transmission will benefit from forming real partnerships with developers and those in the regulatory sphere, relationships that result in greater engagement in planning, new responsiveness to concerns and more equitable compensation models.

See our clean energy transmission database here. Learn about our work to replace coal fired energy with renewables (infographs to share!)

Clean Energy Notes

 

Information Guide: Wind Energy Ordinances

Wind turbines are multiplying across the U.S., and most are installed in rural areas overlooking crops, cattle, timber, and lakes. Rural communities have experienced several benefits from the development of wind energy, but the growth of the industry has also presented a challenge in the form of local regulations that may be insufficient or out-of-date.

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Utilities and transmission should present a unified effort on habitat conservation plans

Iowa has claimed a position as a leader in wind energy with the potential to produce 772,722 megawatts from wind according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Currently Iowa generates about 37 percent of its electricity from wind energy, ranking it third in the nation for wind energy production. While wind energy has proven to be an effective economic development tool that has been embraced by the state, it is also essential that project developers and operators take steps to avoid impacts on vulnerable animal species in the region that could be affected by wind energy systems.

Property values not affected by wind farms

When it comes to economic development tools, wind energy has paid off for rural areas. Whether it be new employment opportunities, additional revenue for counties, or direct payments to landowners, wind energy has brought significant benefits to rural communities. However, any kind of new development comes with concerns. One frequent concern voiced by local residents is what effect, if any, the presence of a wind farm may have on their property values.

Wind energy champion receives Citizenship Award

Experience in community economic development and agriculture has helped Ross Knott draw out the benefits of wind energy. In the process, he has helped transform one small town’s story into that of a strong voice in support of rural development.

This commitment to community has led the Center for Rural Affairs to choose Ross, a native and longtime resident of Petersburg, Nebraska, to receive the 2017 Citizenship Award. He was recognized at an award ceremony on March 9 in Red Cloud, Nebraska.