According to the Southwest Power Pool, the shared electric grid Nebraska is a part of along with 13 other states, wind energy is often the largest energy source generated and shared throughout this network.
This is thanks to states like Iowa, Kansas and Texas who have adopted Renewable Energy Standards (RES) and recognized their great wind energy potential. Texas, for example, has nearly 30,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity, meaning, if Texas were a country, it would rank fifth globally in wind energy production.
Iowa and Kansas get nearly 40% of their total energy mix from just wind alone. Reliability is clearly not an issue for these states. Thanks to the SPP and wind leaders like Iowa, Kansas and Texas, the wind is always blowing somewhere and is constantly being shared. Why shouldn’t Nebraska be a leader in this too?
Just because we’re a public power state doesn’t mean we can’t adopt a RES. This standard would not stop utilities from providing low-cost reliable energy to Nebraskans; rather it’d help create new jobs, increase local tax bases and decrease coal dependence.
In fact, from 2006 to 2016, Nebraska was the only state to increase its purchasing of coal. Not even West Virginia or Wyoming did that. A RES would simply hold utilities accountable. It would not force them to do anything, but it would make them think twice before upping our public investment in coal again.