Washington, D.C. — On November 9, the Institute for Policy Studies released a groundbreaking new report, “Rain and Sunshine and Wind: How an Energy Transition Could Power Nebraska” by IPS Climate Policy Director Basav Sen and Aila Ganić, former IPS Next Leaders intern and Nebraska resident.

The report examines the environmental, economic and health benefits of a state-wide transition to renewable wind energy.

“By making a just transition to wind energy, Nebraska can become a leader in renewables and ensure a more sustainable future for Nebraskan communities,” the report emphasizes.

“Nebraska has the fourth highest wind energy potential among all U.S. states, and is served exclusively by publicly owned utilities. This makes the state uniquely positioned to transition to wind energy and other forms of renewable energy in a just and equitable manner,” said Basav Sen, Climate Policy Director at the Institute for Policy Studies.

“If Nebraska wants a livable future with clean air, clean water and sustainable jobs for Nebraskans, it is critical that we harness the abundant wind energy the state possesses,” said Nebraska resident and former Institute for Policy Studies Next Leaders intern Aila Ganić.

Key report findings include:

  • Nebraska is ranked fourth in the country for wind energy potential.
  • Nebraska’s current reliance on energy from coal, which is responsible for 51 percent of Nebraska’s net electricity generation, is unsustainable and causes serious health, environmental and social justice harms.
  • A just transition to wind energy will benefit Nebraskan communities through more democratic control over the energy system, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, eliminating toxic air and water pollution from fossil fuels, and creating lots of good jobs in a fast-growing industry.
  • Enacting a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), enforcing net metering and making wind energy community owned will make Nebraska’s energy structure more sustainable for the environment and the economy, while ensuring that Nebraska’s transition away from the fossil fuel industry first and foremost reflects and prioritizes the needs and livelihoods of Nebraskans.
  • Wind doesn’t just prevent the pollution that comes with burning fossil fuels — it also prevents the air and water pollution produced when these fuels are mined, drilled, and transported.
  • In 2019, the coal industry lost nearly 8,000 jobs, while the renewable energy sector added 10,900 jobs.
  • The median hourly wage for wind turbine service technicians ($27.03) is much higher than the median for all construction and extraction jobs ($23.37).
  • Land lease payments for wind energy development ($706 million nationwide in 2019) also provide a source of income for rural communities.

“This state with tremendous amounts of wind energy potential must take advantage of the opportunity to reduce the health and economic risks that come from relying on coal for energy,” the report concludes. “Nebraskans deserve a livable future with less water and air pollution, more sustainable jobs, and democratic control over their energy sources.”

To speak with a lead author of the report, contact Olivia Alperstein at (202) 704-9011 or olivia@ips-dc.org.

About the Institute for Policy Studies

For nearly six decades, the Institute for Policy Studies has provided critical research support for major social movements and progressive leaders inside and outside government and on the ground around the United States and the world. As the nation’s oldest progressive multi-issue think tank, IPS turns bold ideas into action through public scholarship and mentorship of the next generation of progressive scholars and activists.


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