Wind Rich Great Plains Could Provide Energy and Jobs for Nation

According to a recent Center for Rural Affairs report (http://files.cfra.org/pdf/Renewable-Energy-and-Economic-Potential.pdf), expanding the nation's renewable electricity to 20% of total generation has the potential to create over 3,500 operations and maintenance jobs on Nebraska wind farms.
While passage of a 10% renewable electricity standard (RES) out of the Senate Energy Committee was a crucial first step, the legislation needs to be strengthened on the Senate floor if the rural Midwest and Great Plains are to realize the fullest potential of wind energy development.
 
Fortunately, several Senators will likely introduce an amendment to raise that standard to 20% of electricity from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and new hydroelectric by the year 2021.  That's good news for Nebraska - good news to the tune of $21 million in annual payments to farmers and ranchers for leasing land for turbines and of course those 3,500 long-term jobs.
 
It will also mean economic impacts outside of wind energy producing areas.  Iowa, for example, has already installed 3,000 megawatts of wind energy and consequently has attracted three turbine manufacturers and top suppliers providing 2,600 jobs and related manufacturing opportunities throughout the state.  In Kansas, within months of passage of a state RES, Siemens announced the opening of a manufacturing facility in Hutchinson that will employ 800.
 
Nebraska's Senators have the opportunity to lead Nebraska into the forefront of America's energy future by supporting the amendment to raise the renewable electricity standard to 20%.  Here's hoping they provide that leadership.

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