Promoting Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
The U.S. relies on burning coal to produce a large percentage of our electricity. Burning these fossil fuels pollutes the air with sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, carbon dioxide and a host of other pollutants, not to mention the adverse impact the use of these fuels has on water and habitat. Thanks in part to the League's leadership, more of our electricity is generated every year from clean sources, such as wind and solar. Unfortunately, most electric utilities in the U.S. remain committed to coal. The U.S. has an opportunity not only to further diversify our domestic energy production, but also to develop the technologies to assist other nations in building and expanding their clean energy production. Our work focuses on:
Renewable Energy: Vast Economic Potential
Tapping into the vast wind power potential in the Midwest and Great Plains can create new jobs and provide income for rural landowners, according to unpublished analyses from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory compiled by the Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska. (View full report.)
For wind-rich South Dakota alone, expanding production of renewable electricity to 20 percent of the nation’s electrical generation – as recommended in the study findings – would generate $21 million in annual rental payments to landowners and create more than 3,900 long-term jobs in operation and maintenance of wind farms. Similarly, the report projects Kansas could gain nearly 3,100 long-term jobs, Nebraska more than 3,500 jobs, and Iowa more than 9,000 jobs. An even greater number of medium-term jobs – averaging one year in duration – would be created in manufacturing, site preparation, and turbine construction.
As Congress considers energy and climate bills during the fall 2009 session, efforts are under way to raise national renewable energy standards to levels that are both achievable and will create genuine economic opportunity in the rural Midwest and Great Plains.