Nebraska’s coal generation, transportation generates $4.9 billion new study reports

March 31, 2014

Columbus, Neb. – In Nebraska, the use of coal as a generating resource for electricity, combined with the transportation of coal, collectively generates nearly $4.9 billion in output according to a recent study conducted by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The study found the combined industries also contribute $1.4 billion in labor income, and more than 22,800 jobs for the state.

The study titled “The Economic and Tax Revenue Impact of Coal Industry Activity in Nebraska” was released Monday. The study was prepared for the Nebraska Public Power District on behalf of the state’s coal generation utilities.

“As we discuss the economic development benefits of Nebraska’s energy resources, it is important we acknowledge the financial impact of our traditional resources, too,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “Seven communities throughout the state, as well as the numerous towns around them, benefit from thousands of direct and indirect jobs.”

The study’s author, Dr. Eric Thompson, wrote in his report, “Coal is an important commodity in Nebraska. It is used to produce electricity for consumption in Nebraska and for export to purchasers located out of state. Coal transportation is a vibrant part of the economy.”

Thompson’s study found that coal is responsible for almost $4.9 billion annually for the state, and is a significant contribution to annual gross state product in Nebraska. In addition, activity in coal-fired electricity generation and coal transportation industries generate about $142 million in taxes on income, sales and property.

The analysis also examined the local economic impact of coal-generated facilities and transportation, focusing on the North Platte area where NPPD’s Gerald Gentleman Station is located, along with Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard. The study examined the output of coal-related activity for those two operations, value-added, and labor income, as well as employment.

NPPD sponsored the report to obtain an objective and academic look at the economic impact from its diverse energy generation portfolio which includes coal, nuclear, wind hydroelectric, gas, oil, and methane. A similar study about nuclear generation was done several years ago when NPPD was assessing the value of its nuclear power plant, Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville.

The Bureau of Business Research is a leading source for analysis and information on Nebraska and the Great Plains Economy. The Bureau conducts both contract and sponsored research on the economy of states and communities. The Bureau also competes for research funding from federal government agencies and private foundations from around the nation and contributes to the academic mission of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln through scholarly publication and the education of students.

The complete study can be found at the Bureau’s website at

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