|Select Economic and Energy Data†||Value||State Rank|
|Real Gross Domestic Product, per capita||$37,326||22nd highest|
|Gasoline Price, per gallon||$2.86||15th highest|
|Electricity Price, per kWh||7.16¢||9th lowest|
Nebraska enjoys affordable electricity prices, 28 percent below the national average. Nebraska generates over two-thirds of its electricity from coal, the most inexpensive source of electricity. Nuclear power from 2 plants provides over one-fourth of the state’s generation, and hydro, wind, and natural gas supply the remaining 3 percent of electricity production in the state.
Nebraska has small oil reserves, but no other fossil fuel resources. The coal used in Nebraska’s electricity generation is almost exclusively delivered from Wyoming. The state also has reported wind power potential, but wind contributes only about one percent to the state’s electricity supply. Nebraska is one of the country’s top producers of corn-based ethanol, but most of this is consumed in other states because Nebraska allows the use of conventional gasoline and has no state-level mandate for blending ethanol into gasoline.
Regulatory Impediments to Affordable Energy
Although affordable energy is a vital component of a healthy economy, regulations frequently increase energy costs. Regulations imposed in the name of reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are especially costly. Carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of the combustion of all carbon-containing fuels, such as natural gas, petroleum, coal, wood, and other organic materials. Today, there is no cost-effective way to capture the carbon dioxide output of the combustion of these fuels, so any regulations that limit carbon dioxide emissions will either limit the use of natural gas, petroleum, and coal, or dramatically increase their prices.
Below are some facts about Nebraska’s regulatory environment that are likely to affect the cost of energy or the cost of using energy. Nebraska has thus far avoided many of the costly energy policies other states are implementing.
- Nebraska does not cap greenhouse gas emissions.
- Nebraska is not a member of a regional agreement to cap greenhouse emissions.
- Nebraska does not require utilities to sell a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources.
- Nebraska does not require gasoline to be mixed with renewable fuels.
- Nebraska does not impose automobile fuel economy standards similar to California’s, which include attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles.
- Nebraska requires new residential and commercial buildings to meet energy efficiency standards. Residential and commercial buildings must comply with the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). State buildings must comply with the 2003 IECC if constructed after July 1, 2005.[i] The IECC, developed by the International Code Council, is a model code that mandates certain energy efficiency standards.
- Nebraska does not impose state-based appliance efficiency standards.
- Nebraska does not allow utilities to “decouple” revenue from the sale of electricity and natural gas. Some states decouple revenue from actual sales, allowing utilities to increase their revenue by selling less electricity and natural gas.
† Data Sources: Real GDP per capita 2008: Bureau of Economic Analysis, News Release: GDP by State (June 2, 2009), http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_ state/gsp_newsrelease.htm; Unemployment: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment–February 2010 (Mar. 10, 2010); Gasoline Prices: American Automobile Association, AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report (Mar. 30, 2010); Electricity Prices: Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, Table 5.6.B., Average Retail Price of Electricity, (March 15, 2010), http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html; Electricity Generation Data: Energy Information Administration, Electricity Generation 2009, http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/generation_state_mon.xls.
[i] Building Codes Assistance Project, Code Status: Nebraska, http://bcap-energy.org/node/80.