LINCOLN – The Lincoln Electric System Board Friday passed a resolution setting a goal for the utility to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040. With the passage of the goal, LES joins dozens of other utilities and cities that have passed similar measures, including the Omaha Public Power District.
“As LES Board Members, our fiduciary responsibility is to ratepayers. Across the country, clean energy like wind and solar is becoming cheaper while coal is becoming more costly,” said Lucas Sabalka, an LES Board Member.
“Market forces and rapidly changing technology make it incumbent upon the LES Board to plan a clean energy transition to ensure that LES customers continue to enjoy low-cost and reliable electricity,” Sabalka said.
A recent Lazard study on the levelized cost of energy, which eliminates the impact of incentives and subsidies on the final prices, finds that over the last 10 years the cost of wind energy has gone down by 70% while the cost of utility-scale solar PV has declined by 89%. Costs for clean energy technologies are expected to continue to decline. Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that U.S. coal prices will generally increase through the year 2050.
“Setting a zero-carbon goal was the right thing to do to ensure our community is prepared for the future. Scientists and economists around the world, including those in Nebraska, agree that taking action now to reduce carbon emissions is far more cost-effective than paying for the worst impacts of climate change in the future,” said LES Board Member Eliot Bostar.
“LES customers wanted us to take this step. For the past several months, we have heard from individuals and organizations encouraging LES to set a decarbonization goal. Their advocacy was supported by surveys that demonstrate business leaders, LES staff, and a significant number of Lincolnites support this action,” said LES Board Member Karen Griffin.
“This proposal will help us plan ahead and make the transition in a responsible way,” said Griffin. “This is just a first step, and there’s going to be a lot more to do over the next 20 years to reach this goal. We are excited to work together with businesses and community members to build this future,” she said.