When it comes to wind energy potential, Nebraska is in a prime position. The state is fourth in the U.S. – in fact, the state could produce enough energy from wind to meet its energy needs 118 times over, or enough to power 511,000 average homes. But, even with this potential, Nebraska lags behind its neighbors in developing our wind energy resources, currently putting the state at 18th for installed wind energy capacity.
Falling short doesn’t mean we miss out on cheap and clean renewable energy. Nebraska communities stand to gain a lot from wind energy – development provides new sources of income for landowners through land-lease payments, new temporary and permanent jobs are created to construct or service projects, and projects add new tax revenue to small towns and counties.
New income and an influx of workers during construction also helps spur economic activity for small towns and rural areas. The tax revenue generated from projects assists communities in funding schools, as well as essential services like police and fire departments.
Nebraska has an impressive amount of potential to generate renewable energy; however, the state has a lot of catching up to do compared to its neighbors. To capture that potential, developers and local officials need to work with community members to determine the best way to build projects.
Residents will also have to tell public power they want local, cheap, and clean renewable energy to power their homes and businesses. Public power has the opportunity to invest locally in renewable wind and solar energy, keeping the dollars we spend on electricity in our state.
Nebraska can find a way to work toward reaching its renewable energy potential, realizing the benefits renewables like wind can bring to small towns and rural communities across the state.
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