Long-time rancher and Nebraska state Sen. Al Davis thinks wind energy can be a lifeline for his constituents.
That was the main takeaway of a recent interview with Sen. Davis in Midwest Energy News.
He explained that his rural district of 40,000 people struggles with population loss and lack of financial resources, and noted wind could be a solution to these problems.
“My district is very rural, and we are constantly fighting depopulation. We have this tremendous natural resource out there that should be developed. If it is, it might help to repopulate rural Nebraska.” “…western Nebraska is depopulating so quickly, and services are very hard to bring together. [Some] students drive 50 miles one way to go to school. Wind energy could bring jobs and some stability to some of these areas of Nebraska.”
Sen. Davis noted Nebraska has wind resources on par with neighbors like Iowa and Kansas, where wind supplies over 25 percent of electricity. Those states have also attracted interest from corporate purchasers seeking low-cost, reliable wind energy, such as Facebook and Google. With these new wind power customers come much-needed, well-paying jobs.
Wind could also be a boon for Nebraska’s students, as its property tax revenue could help pay for schools and services. In fact, by 2030 property taxes from wind energy could bring in over $10 million annually.
Sen. Davis recognized this value, saying, “Public education is the big driver of property taxes. As far as state government, we are 49th in terms of state funding of public education. So that means the vast majority of funding has to come from property taxes.”
Read more about Sen. Davis’ thoughts on wind power here.
These benefits aren’t unique to Nebraska. Rural communities throughout the U.S. see new employment opportunities and increased financial resources as wind power comes to their areas. Sen. Davis is spot-on in his analysis of the good that affordable, reliable wind energy can achieve.