Tag Archives: Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons

Renewable energy funds available for farmers

By Cody Smith, Policy Associate at The Center for Rural Affairs, Record Herald

In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced more than $400 million available for farmers and rural business owners under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP, a farm bill program, provides financing for energy efficiency upgrades like insulation, lighting, and HVAC systems. Renewable energy systems like solar panels, anaerobic digesters, and wind turbines are also eligible. For both farmers and rural business owners, these systems can help cut energy costs—keeping money in rural economies across the nation. Read more here.

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

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Wind energy provides a breath of fresh air

The Grand Island Independent, Opinion written by Lu Nelsen,
Policy Associate, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons

Wind energy projects have proven to be an important economic development tool for counties across rural America. In Nebraska, these projects generated nearly $3 million in tax revenue for local schools — accumulating a total of $3,065,623 in 2017. The contributions were used to fund schools, roads, and other essential services. As rural economies look to diversify their revenue streams without raising taxes, wind energy projects could provide a breath of fresh air.
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Photo Credit: AWEA Public Domain Photos, “Wind Rainbow”


The top five wind stories of 2018, Windpower Engineering Development

The low cost and reliability of wind have continued to drive strong
industry growth that is still pushing forward. AWEA predicts that seven states (Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wyoming,
Maryland and Massachusetts) will soon build enough wind turbines to more than double their wind-power capacity. Flickr Image

Enel Green Power brings online 620 MW of new wind capacity in the United States, News Release

Enel, through its US renewable company Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGPNA), has started operations of the 320 MW
Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Dixon County, Nebraska.

Hladik brings perspective to Rural Affairs

By Michael Wunder, Wahoo Newspaper

LYONS – Ensuring farmers and rural residents have a say in state and national policy is important to a Raymond Central graduate whose daily work aims to enrich the rural landscape. Johnathan Hladik, who graduated from Raymond Central High School in 2002, currently serves as policy program director for the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons. The organization tasks itself with giving rural Americans a voice in how legislation is drafted. . . .  Having an interest in energy and conservation, Hladik said he enjoys looking for ways farmers could take advantage of renewable energy opportunities. A big part of that is working to build a better network of transmission infrastructure. Read the entire article here.


Q&A: How counties can use transmission revenue for local benefits

By Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

A new report aims to highlight the financial benefits that transmission projects can bring to rural counties. Specifically, the report from the Center for Rural Affairs takes a closer look at how counties in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas were impacted economically by transmission lines – during construction of the project, after the lines are in service, and through the taxes and fees that accrue to government bodies.

‘It’s a familiar story that renewable energy brings economic development
to rural areas but we forget that transmission does that, too.”
     – Johnathan Hladik, Center for Rural Affairs Policy Director

Read more here.

Photo: Crews work on the CapX2020 line near St. Cloud, Minnesota in 2013.

Study: The sky’s the limit for Nebraska’s wind energy industry

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Nebraska Radio Network

Our region of the country is securing its popularity for renewable energy projects, according to a report from the Lyons-based Center for Rural Affairs. Lucas Nelsen, who authored the report “Link to Rural Development and a Renewable Future,” says 41% of the new energy generation projects that went online last year were specifically wind energy projects. Read more.

Photo by Megan Farmer, The World-Herald. Grand Prairie wind farm, Nebraska’s largest, near O’Neill in Holt County.

Link To Rural Development And A Renewable Future (PDF).



New Center for Rural Affairs Report: “Link To Rural Development And A Renewable Future”

Written by Lucas Nelsen, Policy Program Associate, Center for Rural Affairs


The United States continues to develop new clean and renewable energy resources to replace aging, carbon-emitting generating facilities. Much of the new renewable energy generation can be found in lightly populated rural areas. These locations often host significant resources for renewable energy generation and provide ample space for new development, especially from wind energy.

Wind energy contributed a significant portion of new generation completed in 2015, making up 41 percent of a total 14,468 megawatts built last year. Many of these new additions were located in the Midwest and Great Plains, regions of the country that boast some of the richest wind energy resources in the nation. Rural communities in these regions stand to benefit from new renewable development, as projects provide new economic activity and revenue for these areas. Download the full report (PDF).

Image: Wind turbines on a farm between Odell and Diller in southeast Nebraska, part of the Steele Flats wind farm. Credit: James R. Burnett / Omaha World-Herald


A Switch to Wind Energy Could Save 1.9 Billion Gallons of Water

Center for Rural Affairs
By Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch, Center for Rural Affairs

Nebraska relies heavily on coal to generate electricity in the state, even though we rank 4th in the nation for wind energy potential and 13th for solar power potential. These resources could easily play a larger role in our energy portfolio. Especially since demand for electricity generated from these energy resources is growing dramatically from individual customers and regional markets. Read more here. 

Image credit: Virginia Wolking, former staff member at the Center for Rural Affairs

Shift to clean energy would help rural, low-income most

By Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch,  an Energy and Climate Program Associate with the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Nebraska. Published in The Des Moines Register

AP Photo

AP Photo

As political candidates begin traveling across Iowa, they will no doubt be asked what action they will take on climate change. It’s important to help them remember that low-income, rural Americans are extremely vulnerable to the economic and health effects of a changing climate, and stand to benefit the most from investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Rural communities feel the direct impacts of a changing climate. Farmers and ranchers adapt to extreme weather by necessity, rural grocery stores have higher electricity bills during heat waves, and small town infrastructure is stressed. Assistance and clean up from extreme weather events is especially difficult in rural areas because emergency services are already stretched thin.

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