The Nature Conservancy has released a first-of-its-kind analysis identifying the most promising places in the Central United States to develop wind energy that avoid conflicts with people and wildlife.

The associated mapping tool, called Site Wind Right, is available for power purchasers, utilities, companies, agencies and municipalities in Nebraska to help build new wind projects faster, with lower costs.

According to the analysis, in Nebraska, Site Wind Right mapping revealed 2.3 million acres available for wind development, away from important habitat for wildlife such as greater prairie-chicken and whooping crane.

“If those low-conflict acres were built out for wind development, it could generate 70 gigawatts. That’s a lot of potential energy,” according to Nature Conservancy.

Nature Conservancy said the Central U.S. is known as the “wind-belt,” where nearly 80% of the country’s current and planned wind energy capacity exists. For the analysis, Conservancy scientists evaluated more than one hundred sources of data on wind, land use, and wildlife across these 17 states, including Nebraska, to detect places where conflicts between wind energy and wildlife are likely to be minimal.

According to Nature Conservancy, wind projects sited in the wrong place can threaten treasured landscapes and wildlife. The Nature Conservancy estimates that renewable energy development could affect 76 million acres of land in the United States— an area about the size of Arizona.

Hand sanitizer production pauses after 200K gallons

After manufacturing and donating more than 200,000 gallons of hand sanitizer at Nebraska Innovation Campus, production and distribution ceased on July 31.

That was the final date for external entities to place or pick up any orders at NIC. All college or department orders will remain available through UNL Marketplace, as there is inventory reserved for use at Nebraska.

The university set up the temporary production just over four months ago to assist the state’s medical, educational and business communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project was first conceived by Hunter Flodman, associate professor of practice of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Jan tenBensel of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. The Food Processing Center was chosen as the production site, which required registration with the FDA as an over-the-counter drug production facility. Flodman went to work around the clock to get the temporary plant set up.

“Beginning in mid-March, we knew there was a large demand for hand sanitizer (due to the pandemic) that the supply chain couldn’t fulfill,” Flodman said. “We also knew the State of Nebraska had the resources to produce large quantities of hand sanitizer because of our large ethanol industry. We wanted to help and so we brought those private and state agencies together with the university to accomplish the task.”

To date, the plant has distributed more than 1,100 individual web orders for hand sanitizer, impacting nearly every county in Nebraska. Recipients include K-12 school districts, hospitals, medical providers, community organizations, essential businesses and the University of Nebraska campuses.

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