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Wind power is one of the fastest-growing forms of new power generation in the United States. Industry growth in 2007 was an astounding 45%. New wind power installations constituted 35% of all new electric power installations. This growth is the result of many drivers, includ¬ing increased economic competitiveness and favorable state policies such as Renewable Portfolio Standards. However, new wind power installations provide more than cost-competitive electricity. Wind power brings economic development to rural regions, reduces water consumption in the electric power sector, and reduces greenhouse gas production by displacing fossil fuels.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America Program is committed to educating state-level policy makers and other stakeholders about the economic, CO2 emissions, and water conservation impacts of wind power. This analysis highlights the expected impacts of 1000 MW of wind power in Nebraska. Although construction and operation of 1000 MW of wind power is a significant effort, six states have already reached the 1000-MW mark. We forecast the cumulative economic benefits from 1000 MW of development in Nebraska to be $1.1 billion, annual CO2 reductions are estimated at 4.1 million tons, and annual water savings are 1,840 million gallons.