Nebraska became the 20th state to commit to 100% clean electricity by 2050. The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) approved net-zero carbon by 2050 goal and is joining Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and Lincoln Electric System (LES) in committing to decarbonization. The NPPD board of directors voted 9–2 to adopt this goal and the Nebraska Conservation Voters (NCV) Deputy Director, Chelsea Johnson, commented:
“NPPD’s vote is pro-growth, pro-economic development, pro-jobs, pro-opportunity, and pro-clean air and water. Setting a decarbonization goal signals commitment to all of these principles, so it makes sense that the NPPD Board adopted this policy and that Nebraskans are behind them.”
Nebraska just became the 20th state to commit to 100% clean energy. 💯⚡️🌬 https://t.co/yiljcdVwYX
— Energy Foundation (@EnergyFdn) December 10, 2021
Rural Radio noted that this was a remarkable shift from where the state was a mere six years ago. The US Energy Information Administration found that the state’s carbon emissions increased more than any other state’s during the period between 2000 and 2015. Today, the state’s electricity companies are focusing on decarbonization, and Johnson pointed out that clean energy is a major economic engine for rural Nebraska. There’s a lot of wind energy there.
“We have talked to voters across the state and poll after poll confirms what we have heard again and again, that there is broad public support for clean energy and reducing pollution. This is a historic day for Nebraska, and we are excited about the path forward.”
While a commitment to clean energy and net-zero emissions is good, and helps get the ball rolling, the grey spot here is that the target us 2050 … which is very far out there. Without a doubt, if they tried, they could switch to 100% clean electricity much, much sooner. The market should naturally shift the electricity mix to renewables by 2050, and an announcement like this is sort of just trying to get good PR points for no substantial effort or leadership. It is akin to giving yourself the permission to make the transition as slowly as possible.
It does bring attention to the potential for 100% clean electricity, which can inspire action in Nebraska and elsewhere. However, true leadership would have set a much earlier date.