A new statewide organization formed to promote clean energy in Nebraska issued a call last week for wind and solar energy development that will attract jobs and power economic development in the state.
"Historically, Nebraska is not an energy producer," Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning said in announcing formation of Renew Nebraska, an organization that he will co-chair.
"We are, however, a wind and solar state, and embracing our clean energy potential creates economic opportunities we've never realized in rural Nebraska."
Norfolk and northeast Nebraska already are "living proof of clean energy's real-life benefits," Moenning said.
"The industry is creating new jobs in our region, both during project construction and for operations technicians, new farm income from land leases and new tax revenues for counties and school districts."
Clean energy is also attracting new business investment in the corporate marketplace, Moenning said.
"Companies like Facebook, Target, Pepsi, Hormel and Smucker's are driving the demand for new clean energy generation in Nebraska — to the tune of $4 billion of capital investment from new development in recent years."
Moenning said "it no longer makes economic or environmental sense to import energy on coal trains from Wyoming (when) we can and should generate more of our energy right here at home from clean sources, revitalizing our rural local economies in the process."
Moenning will co-chair the new organization with Dirk Petersen, past chairman of the board of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry and retired Norfolk Nucor general manager; Janece Mollhoff, board director of the Omaha Public Power District; and Sen. Eliot Bostar of Lincoln.
"In an era when so many issues are cause for division, we see that clean energy is something that unites Nebraskans," Bostar said.
"And for good reason: it creates jobs, it generates tax revenue, it bolsters national security and it's good for our health and the environment," he said.
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