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Wind and Solar Power Could Provide 75% of Nebraska’s Energy Needs

wind-energyWe’ve talked a little about how solar panels can provide energy to many homes on our blog, but not a whole lot about wind energy. And as anyone from Omaha will tell you, we never run out of wind!

But could that wind energy be harnessed to provide energy to Nebraska in a realistic way? According to Omaha.com, the answer is yes!

A new report produced by the Wind Energy Foundation, Creighton University and Washington-based consultants David Gardiner and Associates states that renewable energy through solar and wind power has the potential to supply almost 75 percent of the state’s needs. They say that “significant cost declines” for electricity generated by wind and solar power are spurring development both here in Nebraska and nationwide.

“Nebraska has a great opportunity to use its natural resources to generate affordable, reliable energy,” says Larry Hopp, director of Creighton University’s Energy Program, which prepares students for jobs in the wind and solar industries. And speaking of jobs, the report also found that the renewables industry is responsible for $1 billion worth of investment in Nebraska already, and has the potential to create as many as 44,645 construction jobs.

Ryan Hodum of David Gardiner and Associates tells Omaha.com that “Nebraska has enough renewable resources to provide 73 percent of the state’s energy needs. Maximizing the state’s renewable energy potential will allow Nebraska to power the state with homegrown energy.”

And maximizing renewable energy is the name of the game for Nebraska Public Power District. With environmental laws phasing out coal-fired plants, Nebraska Public Power District says it is already close to reaching its 2020 goal of producing 10 percent of its energy through renewables, primarily wind energy. The Omaha Public Power District also says it has a long-term goal of generating 30 percent of its electricity from wind.

These are interesting times that we live in today when the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is becoming more and more real. We’re already seeing the impact that solar energy is having on the real world, from solar panels on the roofs of peoples’ homes to vehicles running on solar power.

And now it’s time for wind power to pick up the pace. Nebraska is never going to run out of wind energy and if we can harness that power, then Nebraska’s future is going to look even brighter than before!

photo credit: Omaha.com

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