NEBRASKA

NEBRASKA

The state of Nebraska is almost 77 thousand square acres, and 92% of that land is made up of farms and ranches. Nebraska is one of the top five states in the nation in agricultural output, and known especially for cattle and calves, hogs, corn, soybeans, and wheat. Almost two million people call Nebraska home.

As the climate crisis continues to escalate and average temperatures in Nebraska continue to rise, the state will face an increase in extreme heat, drought, and flooding. Currently, Nebraska sees an average of 15 days considered dangerously hot per year, but that number could rise to 40 by 2050. More than 45 thousand Nebraskans are considered to be especially vulnerable to extreme heat. Extreme heat increases the demand for water while simultaneously diminishing its availability by evaporating the water from soil. States at risk, of which Nebraska is one, predicts a 70% increase in threat from widespread summer drought by 2050, which will put exorbitant demands on irrigation systems. Livestock are also vulnerable to extreme heat, and so consequently is the economy which depends on them. Even while droughts increase, floods are expected to do so as well. The Great Plains has seen an increase in severe rainstorms over the past 50 years and river levels are rising during floods, particularly in Eastern Nebraska.

Nebraska ranks second in the nation for ethanol production and capacity, producing about 14% of the country’s ethanol. While Nebraska continues to heavily burn coal—the fossil fuel accounting for over 50% of Nebraska’s net electricity generation — the state barely relies on natural gas and is, instead, expanding cleaner energy. 20% of Nebraska’s electricity comes from wind power and 19% comes from nuclear. Nebraska is investing in developing additional renewable resources — with two large wind farms joining the energy mix in 2020.

That said, Nebraska has not enacted a renewable energy standard. Legislators have resisted implementing policy that would help the state prepare for the coming climate challenges and the state lacks an adaptation plan. Senator Patty Pansing Brooks has introduced a measure — that calls upon the University of Nebraska Officials to develop a plan for adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change — to be submitted in December of 2020. This plan would aim gaining an understanding of Nebraska’s current emissions and set goals for reducing them, as well as providing estimates on economic implications of climate change for the state’s economy and relevant recommendations.

'I'm scared of my future': Nebraska students testify on climate change

CURRENT NEWS

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Over 16 GW of planned wind capacity in SPP supported by robust financial outlook

By Adam Wilson 06/08/22
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) territory is located right in the center of the continental U.S. and is home to some of the strongest average wind speeds in the country. This, combined with generally flat,…

Omaha Metro Transit to begin use of electric buses this week

03/29/22
Electric buses will be on the streets of Omaha starting this week. Metro Transit announced three new fully-electric buses will make their debut this week. Metro says the buses are the first all-electric buses in…

Norfolk’s 8.5-megawatt solar farm nearing completion

03/22/22
Construction on the largest solar energy project in the state of Nebraska is approaching the finish line. Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning said when completed, the city’s solar farm will have more than 25,000 panels in…

Orsted completes 298MW Nebraska Haystack

03/21/22
The project is Orsted's first onshore project using 5MW Siemens Gamesa turbines and brings the company's US onshore wind and solar capacity in operation to over 3GW.

Could Nebraska and Iowa go nuclear as part of shift away from fossil fuels?

02/21/22
New technology is being tested that proponents say could make nuclear power plants safer, more flexible and more affordable than traditional nuclear plants. Additionally, state and federal governments are reworking regulations and incentives to encourage…

5 States Updated Or Adopted New Clean Energy Standards In 2021

By Richard Bowers 02/01/22
As of the end of 2021, 31 states and the District of Columbia had renewable portfolio standards (RPS) or clean energy standards (CES). These polices require electricity suppliers to supply a set share of their…
EIA

Five states updated or adopted new clean energy standards in 2021

02/01/22
As of the end of 2021, 31 states and the District of Columbia had renewable portfolio standards (RPS) or clean energy standards (CES). These policies require electricity suppliers to supply a set share of their…

In a red-state first, Nebraska plans to decarbonize power sector by mid-century

By Zoya Teirstein 12/10/21
Nebraska is a reliably red state. The last time Nebraskans backed a Democrat in a presidential election was 1964. Former president Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by a double-digit margin. So it’s no…

University Of Nebraska At Omaha Sustainability Master Plan

04/16/20
The University of Nebraska at Omaha has developed substantial capacity in academics, operations, and outreach relevant to sustainability without any central coordination, and has the opportunity to do much more. Progress in this area enhances…

NEBRASKA – STATE ENERGY / CLIMATE PLAN

04/16/20
State energy plans (SEPs) are developed in order to provide guidance for meeting current and future energy needs sustainably, reliably, and cost-effectively. While the motivations for developing a SEP are likely to vary across states,…

Climate Action Plan Framework for University of Nebraska-Lincoln

04/16/20
An Undergraduate Thesis Proposal Climate Action Plan Framework for University of Nebraska - Lincoln

CITY OF LINCOLN, NEBRASKA’S CLIMATE ACTION CONTRIBUTION

04/16/20
This submission reflects this organization's contribution to the climate effort, representative of their current actions and commitments as well as the ways in which they intend to step up and collaborate with others.

KEY RESOURCES

Nebraska State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/22/21
Located in the center of the continental United States, Nebraska is a Plains state with rolling hills that include about 20,000 square miles of ancient sand dunes beneath the prairie grasses. Those sandhills cover more…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Nebraska

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Nebraska experienced two severe floods and six severe storms. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Nebraska

07/31/20
Nebraska’s climate is already changing. In the past century, most of the state has warmed by at least one degree Fahrenheit. Rainstorms are becoming more intense, and annual rainfall is increasing. In the future, Nebraska…

CLIMATE CHANGE

04/16/20
Many in the conservation community believe that climate change will be the greatest challenge to conserving biological diversity in the coming decades. Climate change is already having significant impacts on wild species and ecosystems, and…

Climate Change Implications for Nebraska

04/16/20
Climate change poses significant risks to Nebraska’s economy, environment and citizens. There is a need for unbiased sources of information on the issue across the state.

Nebraska

04/16/20
EXPLORE TOP NE RISKS

Nebraskans for Solar

04/16/20
Nebraskans for Solar (NFS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in January 2012. We work with allied nonprofits and agencies, schools, businesses and individuals to advance renewable energy in our state and to raise awareness…

LEGISLATIVE BILL 283

04/16/20
A BILL FOR AN ACT relating to climate; to provide duties for the University of Nebraska; to transfer funds; to require reports.

MORE NEWS

Omaha to Develop Action Plan to Combat Climate Change

By Associated Press   11/05/21  
Omaha plans to join hundreds of other U.S. cities by trying to come up with strategies to combat climate change. While the Nebraska Legislature has rejected calls for a statewide plan, Omaha will lead a…

Climate Scientists Forecast High Temperatures Into the Fall

By Henry Fountain  Photo: Josh Edelson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images   09/16/21  
After a summer of blistering heat across much of the country, the hotter-than-normal conditions that have contributed to severe drought across the West are forecast to continue into the fall, scientists with the National Oceanic…

Lancaster County Board will allow solar panels on acreage ‘outlots’ despite homeowners’ objections

By Maragaret Reist   09/12/21  
Achange in Lancaster County’s zoning laws will now allow a company planning the state’s largest solar farm east of Lincoln to apply for a special permit to expand its footprint farther east.

USDA accepts more grassland CRP signup

By Staff Reporter   09/11/21  
 The U.S. Department of Agriculture has accepted offers for more than 2.5 million acres from agricultural producers and private landowners for enrollment through this year’s Grassland Conservation Reserve Program signup, the agency said in a…

Standing Rock is Everywhere: The Indigenous Heart of the Climate Change Fight

By Alan J. Richard   09/10/21  
This is a story of victory for the earth and of the end of the Keystone XL pipeline. It also involves the Dakota Access pipeline and the Standing Rock Lakota reservation, indeed the entire world,…

Carbon Capture from Nebraska Ethanol Plants Proposed

By Fred Knapp  Photo: Fred Knapp , Nebraska Public Media News   09/03/21  
Big plans are being proposed to capture carbon dioxide from ethanol plants in Nebraska and pipe it away for storage. Supporters say that’ll help fight climate change, but critics say it’ll just postpone long-range solutions.

Monolith company to hire 200 employees, invest millions in Lincoln

By Jael Pembrick   09/01/21  
This is in response to the company’s rapid growth who has its headquarters and Olive Creek production facility in Lincoln.

New analysis highlights conservation practices in Nebraska

By Ryan Evans   08/28/21  
The majority of Nebraska farms with more than 1,000 acres of cropland utilized at least one of the regenerative cropping practices of planting cover crops, no-till and reduced tillage between 2012 and 2017, according to…

Climate change fuels more ‘fire-prone’ days beyond U.S. West coast

By David Sherfinski   08/25/21  
Climate change is fueling conditions for more rapid growth of wildfires in the western United States - including in some places, from Oklahoma to Nebraska, that may not expect them, researchers said Wednesday.

Omaha’s Extreme Weather and the “Code Red for Humanity” Report

By Hannah Michelle Bussa  Photo: Molly Ashford , The Gateway   08/19/21  
On August 7, flash floods hit Omaha, catching national attention and damaging businesses, cars, homes and the sewers in some parts of the city.

State climatologist talks about climate change impact on Nebraska

By Madison Pitsch   08/10/21  
 The United Nations sounded the alarm on climate change Thursday, following a new report they called “a code red for humanity.”
abc

Nebraska takes steps to fight climate change alongside Biden’s new executive order

By Nicole Weaving   08/09/21  
 The Biden administration is taking a new step to fight climate change with an executive order aimed at making half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 electric.

Nebraska’s first solar battery project helps power Burt County

By Jose Zozaya   07/10/21  
Take a drive along Highway 75, heading north past Tekamah, you will most likely see green spaces from any angle, punctuated by farmland and homes.

Hay helps rural Nebraskans explore clean energy options

By Russell Schaffer   06/24/21  
“Success isn’t always choosing to install solar,” he said. “Success is doing a good analysis of the resources to make the best decision.”

Competing resolutions debated at legislative hearing

By Alex Whitney   05/19/21  
Considering some of the resolutions introduced in this session Nebraska's supposedly non-partisan legislature is definitely playing a lot of politics as two competing resolutions look to set Nebraska's stance on a litany of hot button…

AgLines: Nebraska Farm Bureau joins Food, Agriculture Climate Alliance

By Robert Pore   05/16/21  
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors voted recently to join the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance. The group consists of organizations representing a cross-section of farmers, ranchers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments…

Op-Ed:  The meat industry is doing exactly what Big Oil does to fight climate action

By Jennifer Jacquet  Photo: Carolyn Van Houten   05/15/21  
Companies have spent millions to downplay the links between animal agriculture and climate change

As the Climate Warms, Could the U.S. Face Another Dust Bowl?

By Nathaniel Scharping  Photo: John Moore / Getty Images   05/13/21  
Growing up in rural Iowa in the 1990s, Isaac Larsen remembers a unique herald of springtime. The snowbanks piled along roads, once white or gray, would turn black. The culprit was windblown dust, stirred from…

Nebraska governor bribes people to eat more meat with ‘beef passport’ and prizes

By Josh Israel  Photo: AP Photo/Nati Harnik   05/07/21  
Nebraska's governor is so worried that people might eat vegetable proteins that he is endorsing a special "passport" for enthusiastic beef eaters. Republican Pete Ricketts announced Wednesday that, in partnership with the Nebraska Beef Council,…

Building Ranch Resiliency in South Dakota and Nebraska program aims to improve land quality on 40 ranches

By Jody Heemstra   04/30/21  
The US Department of Agriculture is investing $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural…

Nance County votes to oppose 30 x 30 climate agenda, USDA rejects land grab claims

By Steve White   04/28/21  
Opposition grows to Pres. Biden's climate change agenda as Nance County votes to oppose what some see as a "land grab", a claim the ag secretary rejects. The concern is that the White House is…

Sen. Fischer applauds bill helping farmers enter carbon credit markets

By Robert Pore   04/25/21  
Sen. Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has reported her committee advanced the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Fischer is an original cosponsor. The bill would create a certification program at the U.S.…

USDA Raising CRP Rates to Spur Acres

By Chris Clayton  Photo: DTN file photo   04/21/21  
In an effort to increase carbon sequestration and conservation land, USDA on Wednesday announced plans to sign up as many as 4 million acres to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and increase rental rates, looking…
AP

In a first, US pipeline agency weighs climate change impacts

By Matthew Daly   03/19/21  
For the first time, a federal energy board is weighing how a proposed natural gas pipeline would affect greenhouse gas emissions, one of several steps taken this week by the Biden administration in its effort…

From COVID to immigration to climate change, Biden could affect Nebraska in many ways

By Henry Cordes   02/23/21  
Omaha labor leader Terry Moore was grieving the sudden death of his 47-year-old-son from a heart attack in 2016 when his cellphone rang. It was then-Vice President Joe Biden. And for 30 minutes, the man…

Growing numbers of students are calling on Nebraska colleges to divest from fossil fuel firms

By Rick Ruggles   02/16/21  
Kat Woerner found it amazing in the fall of 2019 when students interrupted the Harvard-Yale football game to demand that their schools divest from oil, gas and coal companies. Woerner and some of her climate…

Bill Gates’ 20,000 acres in Nebraska help make him the top farmland owner in the U.S.

By Christopher Burbach  Photo by Anna Reed   01/24/21  
When word began circulating last week that Bill Gates is now the largest private owner of U.S. farmland, including more than 20,000 acres in Nebraska, Saunders County Attorney Rhonda Andresen was naturally curious. Where in…

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska applauds cancellation of Keystone XL pipeline

01/23/21  
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska is joining the list of groups applauding President Joe Biden for canceling the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline on Wednesday. Tribal Chairwoman Victoria Kitcheyan saying in a statement that the tribe…

‘There’s a red flag here’: how an ethanol plant is dangerously polluting a US village

By Carey Gillam  Photo: Carey Gillam   01/10/21  
Situation in Mead, Nebraska, where AltEn has been processing seed coated with fungicides and insecticides, is a warning sign, experts say

Clean power agreement could spur $1.2 billion in wind, solar energy projects in Nebraska

By Paul Hammel   01/05/21  
Up to $1.2 billion in new wind and solar energy projects could be spurred by an agreement to provide 100% renewable energy for a proposed carbon black/anhydrous ammonia plant near Hallam, officials said Monday.  

Drought, wildfires are Nebraska’s top weather stories of 2020

By Nancy Gaarder  Photo by Carl Gilbert   01/04/21  
The sharp swing from one of Nebraska’s wettest years on record to widespread drought dominated the weather headlines in 2020. Through November, Nebraska was in the midst of its 15th driest year out of 126,…

Monolith, NPPD Sign Large Renewable Energy Agreement

By The Associated Press   01/04/21  
Monolith Materials and Nebraska Public Power District plan to cooperate on renewable energy project that could be one of the largest in the state's history, officials said Monday. Monolith said it has signed a letter…

Northeast wind energy program featured in virtual panel

12/28/20  
The growth of renewable energy in Nebraska has situated the state as a leader in America’s growing clean energy industry. Wind and solar energy are increasingly offering the type of economic development in which the…

Inside Clean Energy: The Energy Transition Comes to Nebraska

By Dan Gearino  Photo by Andrew Burton   12/03/20  
Lincoln Electric System is the second large utility in Nebraska to approve a net-zero emissions goal, as the state reaps the benefits of wind power.

Biz Bits: Sunny days ahead for solar power in Nebraska?

By Matt Olberding   11/08/20  
When people think of alternative or renewable energy in Nebraska, wind and ethanol are usually the two sources that most readily come to mind. But new research shows that the state's biggest potential may be…

The impact of climate change on Nebraska’s water: Too much and too little

By Celeste Kenworthy   11/05/20  
Fifty-five years ago, Jim Goeke hated the state of Nebraska. While the veteran hydrogeologist was on a football scholarship at Wisconsin in the mid-60s, his team lost 30-0 to Nebraska one year and 33-0 the…

Divest NU believes UNL, NU will divest from fossil fuel industry

By Carly Jahn   10/20/20  
Divest NU predicts the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska system at large will soon divest from the fossil fuel industry.Divest NU is a coalition of students advocating for the NU system to…

NPPD’s R-Line Project and Wind Energy

By Melanie Standiford   10/18/20  
They may not be your grandfather’s windmills, but they are your grandchildren’s. Should wind turbines grace the skylines of Nebraska? Who gets to decide? The subject of wind in the Sandhills being used for energy…

Fortenberry, Bolz Agree Climate Change Needs To Be Addressed, But Not How

By Becca Costello   10/12/20  
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and State Sen. Kate Bolz agree that climate change is a serious threat, but disagree on the best way to address it. The candidates for the First Congressional District met in a…

After promising a shift from fossil fuels, Omaha utility plans more gas plants

By Karen Uhlenhuth   10/08/20  
Nebraska’s second-largest utility last fall embarked on an initiative, dubbed Power with Purpose, that company leaders say will hasten the utility’s shift away from fossil fuels. However, fast-moving plans to develop two new natural gas…

Public speaks out at Nebraska public hearing on Keystone pipeline

By Nancy Gaarder   10/02/20  
he Keystone XL pipeline didn’t make sense some 10 years ago, and it makes even less sense today, one person after another told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during a virtual public hearing Thursday.…

Vail Resorts invests in massive Nebraska wind farm

By Sarah Kennedy   10/02/20  
None of the 34 ski resorts owned by Vail are in Nebraska. But the company is investing in the state’s abundant wind power. Vail has committed to buying 310,000 megawatt-hours of energy from the new…

Nebraska’s wildlife already feeling the heat from climate change

By Carlee koehler  Photo by Brooke Talbott   09/28/20  
As a graduate student in California, Jamilynn Poletto was part of a fish ambulance service of sorts. Hotter weather from climate change increased water evaporation, turning flowing streams into shallow ponds. Suddenly, stranded sturgeon were…

Watch: Climate change threatens Nebraska agriculture

By Todd Henrichs   09/25/20  
For this in-depth project examining the impact of climate change on Nebraska, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications opened the rigorous application process to all students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the end,…

City, NPPD to take advantage of sunny days ahead

By Jerry Guenther  Photo by Jerry Guenther   09/22/20  
More details were shared Monday evening about the largest community solar project in the state as the Norfolk City Council approved a solar agreement between the city and NPPD. Steve Rames, city engineer, said at…

Nebraska drought fuels wildfires; state vulnerable to ‘megafire’

By Nancy Gaarder  Photo by Carl Gilbert   09/21/20  
From five miles away, Banner County Fire Chief Tim Grubbs could tell that the fire in western Nebraska’s Wildcat Hills would be trouble.Within 10 minutes of the fire being reported, the thin column of smoke…
NTV

Trump Administration invests in renewable energy for rural Nebraska

By KHGI   09/05/20  
The Trump Administration announced on Friday, Sep. 4, that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $776,960 to save and create energy in rural Nebraska.

Cities With the Highest Flood Risk in Every State

By Andrew Lisa   08/23/20  
Floods accounted for three of the 14 natural disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damage in the United States in 2019. In total, flooding impacted 14 million Americans last year and put another…

Nebraska solar farm highlights tension between cities, electricity wholesaler

By Karen Uhlenhuth   08/19/20  
The city of Norfolk, Nebraska, soon will celebrate its first solar farm — and the last one allowed under a contract with its electricity wholesaler.The 8.5-megawatt community solar project is being developed in partnership with…

A Nebraska Wind Farm Gets Vail Resorts Close To 100% Renewable Electricity

By Michael Elizabeth Sakas   07/04/20  
There might not be much skiing in Nebraska, but the Cornhusker state is helping Vail Resorts reach its 100 percent renewable electricity goal. Vail announced a partnership with energy company Ørsted in 2018, and committed…