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In 2010, Nebraska Legislature passed LB 997 requiring all Nebraska cities and counties to include an energy element within their local comprehensive plan by January 2015. For many communities, this is the first time energy has been addressed within their comprehensive plan. Energy planning literature and the requirements of LB 997 were used to create components of an ideal energy plan. Eighteen energy elements were selected by electronic availability and examined for components of an ideal energy plan. The results of this study show that energy elements of local comprehensive plans in Nebraska are lacking the components of an ideal energy plan, as well as components required in the language of LB 997. The absence of these components suggest Nebraska energy elements may not lead to meaningful action, nor will they lead to the many benefits that come from energy planning. The absence of LB 997 requirements may lead to comprehensive plans being deemed invalid. Barriers to the energy planning process are identified including: community opposition, costs, and unavailability of data. Lastly, this thesis identifies opportunities to improve the energy planning process through: the increased involvement of utility providers and other stakeholders, and educating community leaders, consultants, and the general public regarding energy planning.
Advisor: Zhenghong Tang