Economic Benefits of Clean Energy to Be Discussed at Nebraska Conservation Summit

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By Chelsea Johnson

Nebraska has the potential to lead the nation in clean energy: Our state ranks third in the nation in wind and thirteenth in solar potential, and we have enormous biomass and biogas resources. But less than 5 percent of our state’s electricity is currently produced by renewables, and we are heavily reliant on coal to meet our electricity demands. Nebraska is one of the top importers of coal nationwide, and we rank fourth in per capita expenditures on coal imports. We are being surpassed by all of our neighboring states in clean energy development, and have a long way to go before we meet our potential in renewable energy.

Dependence on fossil fuels costs us more than what we pay at the pump or to cover our electricity bills. A consensus of scientists agree that fossil fuel emissions will catastrophically alter our world’s climate if left unchecked, creating a world defined by extreme weather and incalculable risk. Burning fossil fuels also has a detrimental impact on public health. The particulate matter released creates a long list of health problems, such as asthma, heart disease, and lung cancer, and it is responsible for an estimated two million premature deaths every year.

We need to take action in Nebraska, now. We need to move Nebraska into an era of new energy and lead the nation toward a clean energy future.

The Nebraska League of Conservation Voters works to ensure the sustainable use of Nebraska’s natural resources through education, electoral work, and issue advocacy. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters (NLCV) promotes environmental stewardship in Nebraska. We work to educate voters and mobilize people across the political spectrum to build grassroots power. We hold Nebraska’s elected officials accountable for their votes and actions, and elect pro-conservation candidates who will champion our priority issues. 

One of NLCV’s priorities is creating a reliable and renewable future. A reliable and renewable future means Nebraska is leading the nation in the production of clean and renewable energy, ensuring that generations to come live in a world with a hospitable climate and clean air.

NLCV and its sister organization, the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund, is hosting the Nebraska Conservation Summit on December 8. The Nebraska Conservation Summit will bring together clean energy advocates to strategize how we can move Nebraska toward clean, renewable energy. This is a great opportunity for those of us who care about Nebraska’s future to hear from leading clean energy experts, gain valuable information about clean energy policies, and meet other Nebraskans who are dedicated to moving Nebraska into a clean energy future.

The summit’s keynote speaker is former governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter. During his time as governor, one of Bill Ritter’s main achievements was developing a New Energy Economy. The New Energy Economy encourages investment in clean and affordable domestic energy, creates and keeps jobs in the United States, protects our environment and climate, and keeps America on the leading edge of global competition. As governor, Ritter signed fifty-seven new energy bills into law, including a 30 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard. Ritter’s New Energy Economy turned Colorado into a national and international leader in clean energy and created thousands of jobs. He is currently serving as the director of Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy, which he founded. He works with policy makers, governors, planners, and other decision makers across the nation to provide them with tools to accelerate nationwide development of the New Energy Economy.

At the Nebraska Conservation Summit, Governor Ritter will discuss how clean energy development benefits the economy and how we can accelerate clean energy development in Nebraska.

To create the energy future we want, we must continue to organize a diverse coalition of individuals to take action, educate others about the benefits of clean energy, and support policymakers and our utilities in their efforts to develop clean energy in Nebraska. If you want Nebraska to lead the nation in clean energy, then join us for the Nebraska Conservation Summit.

The Nebraska Conservation Summit will take place on Monday, December 8, at the Scott Conference Center in Omaha, located at 6450 Pine Street. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the program will start at 6:00. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will follow the program. This is a ticketed event. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.conservation summit.com. Your ticket purchase includes membership to NLCV and will support the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters and the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund. Sponsors of the summit include Invenergy, Baird Holm, Fraser Stryker, the Green Omaha Coalition, Green Bellevue, Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light, Citizens Climate Lobby, Nebraskans for Peace, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Bank of the West, NEI Global Relocation, and the Center for Rural Affairs.

For more information on the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters and the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund, visit www.nlcv.org.

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