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Reaching Rural Communities With Renewable Energy

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Jane Marsh's picture

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

  • Member since 2020
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  • Jan 19, 2021

Renewable and sustainable energy has the potential to positively impact all kinds of communities, both small and large, condensed and rural. However, not all areas have made the jump or recognized the benefits of green power. Reaching those communities, though, is its own challenge.

The environmental factor alone may not be enough to sell the change. Thankfully, there are additional considerations when it comes to bringing sustainable energy sources to more rural areas.

Solar and Wind Energy

Two of the most popular forms of renewable energy are solar and wind, and they are beneficial options for both residences and businesses. Developers can pay landowners to host wind turbines, which puts money back into the local economy. Similarly, solar energy creates jobs and is responsible for 45% of renewable energy positions that have been created in the Midwest.

The infrastructure improvements and sustainability that wind and solar power offer make them the best segue for rural communities to enter the world of green energy.

Saving Money

One of the biggest draws for rural communities to adopt sustainable energy practices is the potential for it to save them money. On a commercial and personal level, using solar, wind or other forms of renewable power is one of the best ways to reduce electricity and heating bills. Especially within a deregulated energy market, many people turn to new sources when prices rise. This makes sustainable energy a viable option for many. While there are additional ways to save money, having a reliable energy source is one of the most solid.

Sustainable energy is an upfront investment, but it pays itself off as time goes by. This can make it attractive even to the naysayers.

Creating Jobs

Renewable energy has the power to create jobs in rural communities, in addition to stimulating the economy through tax benefits and land use payments. Sustainable energy offers consistent, ongoing jobs for people living in the communities that host it. In 2019, about 345,000 people worked in the solar industry, and more than 114,000 were employed by the wind industry. About 75,000 had coal mining jobs.

Workers can also expect to get paid more for their efforts than in mining or fossil fuel extraction, especially as coal and other unsustainable energy industries are headed for yet another slump. As sustainability becomes the way of the future, even more jobs in the industry will become available, making it the smarter industry to look in.

Space in Rural Areas

One of the most important things to note about making efforts to reach rural communities with sustainable and renewable energy is that, for the most part, it’s already working. Surprisingly, red states tend to have the highest output of green energy, and those numbers are still climbing.

This has a pretty simple explanation — land mass. While the coasts align with sustainability initiatives much more in a political sense, the space for large renewable energy plants just is not there, especially when it comes to corporate expansion of green energy. Plenty of private consumers on the coasts can go green with their energy, but there isn’t enough space to truly expand like there is in middle America.

When you look at wind energy, Texas has the highest output, followed closely by Oklahoma, Iowa and Kansas. Rural settings are the ideal place for wind turbines and solar panels, and so far, it’s worked out well.

Sustainable Energy in Rural Communities

While it might seem a bit off the beaten path, rural communities are simply the best place for sustainable energy due to their space and positive market impact from wind and solar. By helping the public save money and offering a new source of job creation, it seems that this industry will simply keep growing — which is good for the planet and the people on it.

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Jan 22, 2021

Jane , Good points. Renewable Energy is distributed and can be added anyplace in the country and the GRID. With new battery storage it can help 24/7 in nano seconds. Many farms can still plant and have live stock in the same area. The clean quiet safe Renewable Energy fits right in. 

Jane Marsh's picture
Thank Jane for the Post!
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