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

 

Center for Rural Affairs September and October 2019 newsletter

My favorite part of this job isn’t the cake we get for birthdays, although that is a pretty neat perk.

I absolutely love visiting with you—our donors, event and program participants, small business loan recipients, board members, and everyday, rural people.

File attachments: 

Icing and Wind Energy Systems

Every day, rural communities benefit from wind energy. Wind development provides new income for landowners, new tax revenue to fund schools and services, and creates local career and job opportunities. County officials are responsible for enacting siting or zoning standards that help ensure wind development is supported by local residents. Many seek to address the issue of icing.

File attachments: 

Cost of wind projects continues steady decline 

The U.S. wind industry is booming—expanding from 1.5 gigawatts of cumulative installed capacity in 1998 to 96.4 gigawatts of installed capacity in 2018.

At the same time, the cost of these projects continues to go down. According to the newly-released 2018 Wind Market Technologies Report from the U.S. Department of Energy, the average cost of constructing a wind energy project in 1983 was $4,478 per kilowatt hour. In 2018, the cost dropped to just $1,468 per kilowatt hour.

Fact sheets address common questions about wind energy

Wind energy developed across the U.S. has brought significant opportunity to rural communities, with new projects generating clean energy, in addition to economic benefits for nearby towns and rural areas.

These benefits include offering an additional source of income for farm and ranch families through land-lease payments, creating new short-term jobs during the construction of a project, as well as long-term operations jobs, and adding another source of tax revenue for rural counties that allows them to fund local schools, emergency services, and even road repairs.

Center staff member recognized for work in clean energy

Each year, Midwest Energy News acknowledges leaders who are based in the Midwest. These men and women are innovators from all sectors, including industry, government, regulatory, business, academia, nonprofit, and advocacy.

The 40 Under 40 awards program showcases emerging leaders throughout the region, and highlights their work in America’s transition to a clean energy economy.

This year, the Center for Rural Affairs was represented by one of its own. Policy Associate Lu Nelsen was named one of the recipients of the 2019 Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 Award.