hat do efforts to tackle climate change, major economic benefits, and the state of Nebraska have in common? A lot, actually.
Let’s start with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. That, of course, is EPA’s landmark initiative announced last year to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The initiative is historic because it’s the U.S.’s first effort to regulate emissions of carbon. The draft rule was proposed last June, and a final rule is slated to come out this summer. Under the Clean Power Plan, individual states are to be given a high degree of flexibility in coming up with their own strategies to reduce carbon emissions to specified levels.
And now for the Nebraska part. A recently released report highlights how deploying renewables at a high level in the state would not only mean massive economic benefits (more on that below), it would easily surpass projections for renewable electricity under the Clean Power Plan. The state “has the potential for significant renewable electricity development far beyond what is projected under the proposed standards,” states the report, which was released by the initiative A Renewable America.
Nebraska, it turns out, is just one example of how the Clean Power Plan is hardly a stretch as far as being achievable and even economically beneficial. The Nebraska report is only the latest release from Renewable America, which has come out with several reports on individual states that show the same findings: Deploying renewables can both boost the economy and shatter the projections of the Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan is not the central focus of the reports, which reveal several statistics concerning the economic impact renewables have had—and can have in the future.
A few of them from the Cornhusker State: Already, renewables have pumped more than $1 billion of investment into the state, generating over 22,000 jobs. Moreover, Nebraska has the potential to deploy 6,225 additional megawatts of renewable energy by 2030, which would translate into 73 percent of overall electricity use in the state.
A whopping 73 percent renewables by 2030. Not bad, to say the least. Such a build-out would create 44,645 jobs and generate over $64 million in annual wages and benefits in addition to $17 million in annual land-leasing revenue.