Energy policy in Nebraska
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- 1 Energy overview
- 2 Energy policy
- 3 In the news
- 4 See also
- 5 External links
- 6 References
Energy policy in Nebraska depends on geography, natural energy resources, how electricity is generated, how much energy consumers use, politics and the influence of groups such as environmental and industry organizations. Decisions by policymakers, such as state and local governments, utilities and regulatory agencies, affect all citizens economically and environmentally, and are generally geared toward providing reliable, affordable energy. The cost of energy affects not only home heating and electricity bills, and thus disposable income, but also economic growth, including jobs, investment and the cost of doing business in the state.
How energy is produced and consumed also has an impact on the environment and pollution. Energy policy in Nebraska works to incentivize renewable energy in the state despite the abundant amount of traditional energy resources in the state. As the infrastructure for producing and delivering renewable energy sources is not as advanced as it is for energy generation from traditional sources, these policies often require subsidies to make the produced energy affordable, and their effects are difficult to measure.
Energy policy involves trade-offs between providing an affordable, consistent energy supply on the one hand, and limiting pollution and protecting the environment, on the other. How states attempt to balance these two differs between states, and often boils down to costs to consumers versus costs to the environment. This article provides general energy information about the state as the context within which energy policy is made, as well as information about major legislation and public and private groups that play a role in setting energy policy in the state.
Below are quick facts about Nebraska’s energy climate.
- is a net electricity importer.
- has fossil fuels in the form of oil and natural gas.
- has renewable energy in the form of wind, hydropower, biomass and ethanol.
- ranks fourth in the nation in available land with wind potential.
- produces the second most corn-based ethanol in the nation.
- ranked 20th out of the states in production of crude oil.
- is a portion of the Niobrara Shale Formation, an emerging oil play.
- electricity generation from the state's two nuclear power plants declined by about 37 percent.
- about 92 percent of the land has wind energy potential.
- the manufacturing sector consumes large amounts of energy and is a major world meatpacking center.
- most of the coal used in the state is imported from Wyoming.
Available energy resources
Nebraska has traditional energy resources in the form of oil and natural gas. The state does not produce coal, which is mainly imported from Wyoming with some coming from Colorado. Oil production in Nebraska began in 1939 and currently is only about one-ninth of its historic peak in the 1960s. The Niobrara shale formation which is located in parts of Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado has not yet been fully developed. Nebraska has no oil-refining capability. Nebraska only produces a small amount of natural gas and relies heavily on imports from other states.
Nebraska has renewable energy resources in the form of wind, hydropower, biomass and ethanol. Nebraska has the fourth most available land with wind energy potential in the country. Over nine-tenths of the total land in the state has wind energy potential. Nebraska also has a few hydropower producing dams, but output depends on the water flow. Biomass is also available in Nebraska, coming from crop residue and manure management. Because Nebraska produces high volumes of corn, they produce the second most corn-based ethanol in the state, second only to Iowa.
Consumption and prices
|Energy consumption in Nebraska|
Transportation Residential Industrial Commercial
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As shown on the pie chart in 2011, over two-fifths of Nebraska's energy consumption was in the industrial sector. Just under a quarter was consumed in transportation. The residential and commercial sectors accounted for the remaining 35 percent of total energy consumption. Most of the energy used in the state is from coal, followed by petroleum, natural gas and biomass. Nuclear, hydropower and "other" renewables also contribute.
Motor gasoline is the second largest use of petroleum in the state, which typically tracks closely to the national average. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) February 2014 report, the federal excise tax is 18.40 cents/gallon of gasoline and 24.40 cents/gallon of diesel fuel. In addition to that, Nebraska collects a total tax of 27.20 cents on every gallon of gasoline and gasohol fuel, and 26.60 cents per gallon of diesel fuel, which ranks it at the 24th highest in the United States.
The table below compares Nebraska’s consumption and spending for energy, as well as prices for natural gas and electricity, and carbon emissions to those of Kansas, which has similar population, resources and consumption needs because of climate and geography. Also given are the U.S. averages and the state rankings. All rankings are from highest to lowest, so, for example:
- Nebraska’s rank of 37th in carbon emissions means that carbon emissions are lower in Nebraska than in Kansas, which has a ranking of 28th.
- Per capita income in Nebraska ranks slightly higher than in Kansas, which at 25th ranks 4 places below Nebraska’s ranking of 21st in per capita income.
- These two states are similarly ranked on total spending on energy.
- Per capita energy consumption in Nebraska (at seventh) is somewhat higher than in Kansas (at 12th).
- Per per capita spending in Nebraska is somewhat higher because it ranks 11th to Kansas’s ranking of 14.
|Consumption and Expenditures Comparisons Summary|
|Figure||U.S. Rank*||Figure||U.S. Rank*||Totals|
|Population||1.9 million||37||2.9 million||34||313.9 million|
|Per Capita Income Average||$43,143||21||$41,835||25||$42,693|
|Total Consumption||871 trillion BTU||33||1,162 trillion BTU||30||97,301 quadrillion BTU|
|Per Capita Energy Consumption||473 million BTU||7||405 million BTU||12||312 million BTU|
|Total Spending on Energy||$9,971 million||35||$14,861 million||32||$1,394,088 million|
|Per Capita Spending on Energy||$5,413||11||$5,179||14||$4,474|
|Price of Residential Natural Gas, dollar per thousand cubic feet||$8.73||35||$10.85||24||$12.48|
|Price of Electricity, cents per kWh||9.93||42||11.40||25||12.31|
|Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, million metric tons (2010)||48||37||75||28||5,631|
|*Rank is from highest to lowest.|
- See also: State Energy Rankings to compare all 50 states
|Consumption of energy for heating homes in Nebraska|
|Source||Nebraska 2011||U.S. average 2011|
|Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG)||7.8%||5%|
Production and transmission
Nebraska produced 396.8 trillion BTU of energy in 2011. Biofuels accounted for nearly 70 percent of total energy production in Nebraska. Nuclear power accounted for nearly one fifth. Crude oil, natural gas and what the U.S. Energy Information Administration classifies as 'other,' which is "assumed to equal consumption of all renewable energies except biofuels."
|Energy production by type in Nebraska, 2011|
|% of State||% of USA|
Electricity produced in Nebraska is primarily from coal, which accounts for about two-thirds of the total. Nuclear energy accounts for one-fourth of the total electricity production. The remaining comes from petroleum, natural gas, hydropower and what the EIA classifies as "other renewables" account for the remainder of electricity production. In Nebraska, net electricity generation exceeds consumption making the state an electricity exporter.
|Where electricity comes from in Nebraska|
|Type||Amount generated (MWh)||% of state**||% of U.S.**|
|Total net electricity generation||3,109,000||100%||0.08%|
|**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.|
- See also: Fracking in Nebraska
Energy policy is made, executed and influenced by many organizations, both public and private, and is codified in the laws and regulations of the state. Each state’s energy policy involves trade-offs in which energy production and prices are weighed against environmental concerns and efficiency. According to the “2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard” published by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Nebraska is tied with Louisiana ranking 44th in energy efficiency with a score of 9.5 out of 50. There are differing estimates about the economic impact of these mandates in terms of costs that may affect prices and jobs, as well as the impact on the environment and pollution. Thus, for example, there are many new studies of what is called the "rebound effect" which refers to the fact that "some of the theoretically estimated gains in energy efficiency will be eroded as consumers consume additional goods and services."
Nebraska is one of 19 states that does not have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). According to some studies, electricity and energy prices are lower than those states who do have an RPS. Instead, the Nebraska Energy Office offers loans to electricity utilities aimed at increasing renewable energy.
- N.R.S. 66-901 et seq, (1979) established solar easement provisions. These allowed owners to create binding easements preserving their access to sunlight. In March of 1997, Bill 140 extended the law to allow the same rights for wind.
- LB 436 (2009) established general rules for net metering and interconnecting. The policies apply to systems that have a capacity of less than 25 kW that use solar, wind, biomass, methane, geothermal or hydropower resources.
- LB 329 (2011) updated the Nebraska Building Energy Code to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standards. According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, the "Code applies to all new buildings, renovations, or additions to existing buildings."
Government agencies and committees
- The Nebraska State Legislature has one committee that review energy issues the Natural Resources Committee. This committee oversees the processing of legislation in areas such as water, public power, natural resources, the environment, energy and recreation.
- The Nebraska Public Service Commission is in charge of regulating natural gas and other utilities, telecommunication carriers, oil pipelines and railroads, among other things in the state of Nebraska. It is headed by five elected commissioners with elections occurring every six years.
- The Nebraska Energy Office is the official energy department of Nebraska. According to their website, the Office's mission statement is "to promote the efficient, economic and environmentally responsible use of energy." They regulate energy and utilities within the state of Nebraska as well as provide financial assistance and weatherization programs.
- The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for the areas of groundwater, surface water, floodplain management, dam safety, natural resources planning and integrated water management. The department is managed by Director of Natural Resources.
- The Nebraska Energy Assistance Network is a group of utilities, government agencies, regulators and community leaders. According to their mission their goal is to "assist Nebraskans with their energy needs through education, advocacy and partnerships."
In the news
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Nebraska+Energy+Policy"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Nebraska Profile at the U.S. Energy Information Administration
- Nebraska Profile at National Association of State Energy Officials
- These figures come from the U.S. Environmental Information Administration State Profiles and Energy Estimates, Nebraska Overview. Statistics for population and per capita income are for the year 2012; consumption and spending estimates are for 2011; and prices are for October 2013. Updated pricing information is available on the state's EIA profile. Prices will be updated on this page biannually.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Nebraska Overview,” accessed March 7, 2014
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, Nebraska Profile Analysis, December 18, 2013
- This chart depicts the state's energy consumption as reported by the EIA for 2011. Click the image to enlarge.
- To compare current gasoline prices in Nebraska to the U.S average, go to GasBuddy.com
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Petroleum Marketing Monthly," February 2014, accessed March 7, 2014
- The Tax Foundation, "State Gasoline Tax Rates, 2009-2013," March 21, 2013
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, “State Energy Data System, Production,” accessed March 7, 2014
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, Nebraska Profile Analysis, December 18, 2013, accessed March 7, 2014
- These figures come from the EIA State Profiles and Energy Estimates U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Nebraska Overview,” accessed March 7, 2014
- ACEEE "2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard,” accessed March 7, 2014
- International Risk Governance Council, "The Rebound Effect: Implications of Consumer Behavior for Robust Energy Policies," accessed March 3, 2014
- Scientific American, "How Bad Is the Rebound from Energy Efficiency Efforts?," May 21, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
- Institute for Energy Research, "The Status of Renewable Energy Mandates in the States," accessed March 7, 2014
- American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, "Nebraska Utilities Policy," accessed March 7, 2014
- According to a report called "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," by the free-market Institute for Energy Research, the cost of electricity in states with RPS were on average 38 percent higher in 2010 than in states without a RPS.
- Institute for Energy Research, "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," accessed March 24, 2014
- Manhattan Institute, "The High Cost of Renewable-Energy Mandates," February 2012
- Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, "Solar and Wind Easements and Local Option Rights Laws," accessed March 7, 2014
- Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, "Interconnection Guidelines," accessed March 7, 2014
- Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, "Building Energy Code," accessed March 7, 2014
- Nebraska Legislature, "Natural Resource Committee," accessed March 7, 2014
- Nebraska Public Service Commission, "Brief History of the Commission," accessed March 7, 2014
- Official Nebraska Government Website, "Nebraska Energy Office," accessed March 7, 2014
- Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, "About us," accessed October 8, 2011 (dead link)
- Kansas Energy Information Network, "Contact Info," accessed March 7, 2014
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