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Strong Winds: Opportunities for Rural Economic Development Blow Across Nebraska

Summary

  • Analyzes the potential economic benefits and costs of expanding wind power in Nebraska compared to developing coal and natural gas.
  • Analysis is based on a policy goal of generating 10% of Nebraska's electricity from wind power by the year 2012 through the implementation of a renewable portfolio standard.
  • Finds that developing wind power instead of coal and natural gas:
    • Benefits the state economy by $15 million per year over a 20-year period.
    • Creates more jobs.
    • Could produce an important source of rural economic development in Nebraska through landowner revenues and property tax revenues.

Citation: Strong Winds: Opportunities for rural economic development blow across Nebraska
Author(s): Steven Clemmer, Union of Concerned Scientists
Report Date: Feb. 2001

Project Size: 800 MW
Number of Turbines: n/a
Location: NE
Geographic Scope: Nebraska
Turbine Ownership:
Type of Study: Prospective
Timeframe of Data: 2012

Model: IMPLAN input-output model.

Data Sources: EPRI; DOE

Assumptions: Typical project size of 50 MW. Capacity factor: 37% for the year 2000, which would increase over time. Half of new wind facilities financed by public power entities, half financed by private developers. All equipment, except half of towers, manufactured outside Nebraska.

Special Considerations: Analysis based on a policy goal of generating 10% of Nebraska's electricity from wind power by the year 2012, which is achieved through the implementation of a renewable portfolio standard. The study compares the economic benefits of developing wind rather than coal or natural gas (though only the numbers for wind are shown here). The study uses three cost scenarios; however, these scenarios do not affect the number of jobs or amount of income induced by the wind installations. If half of the turbines and all of the towers manufactured in Nebraska, an additional 250 jobs, $15 million in earnings, and $44 million in gross state product would be produced each year of the 10 year period.

Jobs Construction Operations (jobs/year) Total
Direct      
Indirect      
Induced      
Total 410 (in 2012) 360 (in 2012) 770
Jobs/MW 0.51 (in 2012) 0.45 (in 2012) 0.96

 

Income Construction Operations Total
Direct      
Indirect      
Induced      
Total $20,000 $16,000 $36,000

 

Taxes Direct Indirect Total
Local/State      
Income      
Property   $5,200,000 (by 2012) $5,200,000
Sales      
Total      

Developer Incentives: Assumed that the Production Tax Credit and Renewable Energy Production Incentive extended through 2006.

Lease Payments: $2,200,000 total by 2012; $2,000 per year per turbine

Other Remuneration:

Conclusion: Economic impact of developing wind power instead of coal or natural gas would have a large impact on farmers and rural communities.