Some electric companies claim the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to cut carbon pollution would result in much higher costs that would be passed along to consumers.
Liz Stanton, the principal economist at Synapse Energy Economics, says that’s not necessarily the case.
“While some power companies are having the reaction that you just described,” Stanton says, “others are looking at this as an opportunity and a great chance to invest in new technologies that will be what those companies will be relying on in the future and at a lower cost so they can charge lower rates to customers.”
Stanton sees wind energy continuing to progress.
“Wind technologies are developing over time and we’re seeing taller turbines, longer blades, that are able to generate more electricity from a single turbine,” Stanton says. “There are developments in technology and we take them into account in our modeling and expect that new turbines that are built in the future will actually be more powerful.”
The researchers compared projections of electric rates 15 years from now if no changes are made versus projections under the EPA’s so-called clean energy proposal.
“For Nebraska, what we’re seeing, looking out to 2030 is that the clean energy scenario would result in bill savings to the average household of about $94 a month,” Stanton says.
Stanton says with investments in energy efficiency, the plan would not only achieve the goal of a 30% reduction in carbon emissions, but exceed that.
Wind energy production supports as many as 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in Nebraska, with a capital investment of $1 billion. The industry makes $1.3 million in land-lease payments as well.
Still, Nebraska lags behind other states, like Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma, in the development of wind energy even though Nebraska has some of the greatest potential to turn its high winds into useable energy.