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Economic Impact

We’re building the advanced power economy.

From the plains of the Midwest to the cities across the nation, America’s Energy Heartland is powering the future and Advanced Power Alliance members are leading the way.

We are attracting leading global companies that are committed to using clean energy to power their businesses. From the state-of-the-art data centers to our heavy manufacturers and commercial operations, more and more mega-employers are selecting renewable energy as a long-term solution to reduce costs and benefit our environment.

An investment in wind power and solar energy is an investment in jobs – from operations and maintenance, to construction, manufacturing and numerous support sectors. But the renewable power industry does so much more than that.

Positive Economic Benefits

Growing the Nation’s energy independence

Wind and solar power diversify our Nation’s energy portfolio and help reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Wind and solar is homegrown power from America’s Heartland and – because its cost is constant, it provides a hedge against increases in fossil fuel costs. Regional wind, solar and natural gas resources integrate well, creating opportunities for both markets to grow while reducing imported fuels.

Provides long-term price stability

Technological advancements in turbines, blade designs, telecommunications, and computing have made wind energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity. And, while the price of electricity from other sources can fluctuate due to variable costs like fuel, the fuel price on a wind farm is fixed for perpetuity. This means that wind power can help hedge against fuel price volatility in other forms of generation.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy, estimates that solar panels will cover three million acres by 2030. That compares with almost 258,000 acres generating solar power in 2018, according to Wall Street Journal calculations based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Creating new jobs in a stagnant, rural economy

Wind energy projects create new jobs ranging from meteorologists and surveyors to structural engineers, assembly workers, lawyers, bankers, and technicians.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: employment of wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, is projected to grow 96% during the next eight years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

On a per MW basis, wind energy creates 30 percent more jobs than a coal plant and 66 percent more than a nuclear plant. And, as wind development has expanded in the region, wind energy manufacturing has grown as well.

Diversifying rural economies

Wind and solar energy is diversifying the economies of rural communities, adding to the tax base and providing new streams of income for farming and ranching communities.

Renewable energy investments are large and these capital investments add a new source of property taxes in rural areas that otherwise have a challenging time attracting new industry. Communities across our region now actively recruit clean energy developments as part of their regional economic development programs.

Supports the Agriculture Industry

Every year the wind and solar industry infuses capital into the Midwest by investing millions in land lease payments each year. Land lease payments allow farmers and ranchers to reinvest in their land and increase output in agriculture.

Wind farms are spaced over a large geographic area, but their actual “footprint” covers a small portion of the land (less than 5%), meaning they have little impact on agricultural uses. This means that wind turbines can be installed without interfering with people, livestock, or production. In many parts of our state, farmers and ranchers have been able to stay on their land thanks to a new crop, the wind energy they harvest above their land.

Developing local sources of energy means our energy dollars are invested back into the local economy. Landowners benefit directly from lease payments, school districts benefit and local governments benefit from tax revenue, and local workers benefit from job opportunities that are often difficult to find in rural America.