U.S. Department of Energy



E. Lantz

Date of this Version



Published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Technical Report NREL/TP-500-44344 November 2008


Wind power constituted more than 35% of new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2007. Common drivers of wind power include Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), the federal production tax credit (PTC), and rural economic development benefits. Continued expansion of the wind industry into Nebraska would bring new employment and economic development to Nebraska and the country. This report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) focuses on the economic development impacts that would result in Nebraska from development and operation of wind power in the state as envisioned in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) report 20% Wind Energy by 2030. Under the national 20% wind scenario, 7,800 megawatts (MW) of new wind power is added in Nebraska. A practical first step to building 7,800 MW of wind is completing 1,000 MW. We also include the estimated economic impacts to Nebraska from building 1,000 MW of wind power.
Economic impacts are estimated with NREL’s Jobs and Economic Development (JEDI) Wind model and include direct, indirect, and induced impacts. Direct impacts accrue from expenditures in the wind industry. Indirect impacts accrue in supporting industries as a result of increased demand for basic goods and services. Induced impacts result from reinvestment and spending by direct and indirect beneficiaries. In some cases, depending on the structure of the local economy, indirect and induced impacts may be greater than direct wind industry impacts.
Jobs values are defined as construction-period jobs, operations-period jobs, and average employment impacts. All jobs totals include direct, indirect, and induced jobs. Construction-period jobs are defined as short-term, 1-year jobs, and include those jobs resulting from Nebraska-based construction and manufacturing. Operations-period jobs are full-time jobs that exist for the operating lifetime of the wind power facility; typically this is 20 years. Average employment is defined as the average jobs — direct, indirect, and induced — supported by wind development and operations over the full construction and operations period. This period is defined as 40 years for the 7,800 MW built in accord with the national 20% wind scenario and 22 years for the 1,000-MW analysis. All results are expressed as ranges and are based on the four possible development scenarios foreseen for Nebraska. Primary variables contributing to the range of impacts are the role of Nebraska manufacturing, the prevalence of Nebraska project ownership, and the availability and utilization of Nebraska labor.