There’s More to It than Wind

Rural America is privy to some of the juicy plots of land for wind power production. It’s well known throughout the energy sphere that sprawling, unencumbered land masses are best suited for wind collection. And, fortunately enough, most of those land masses sit in countryside communities.

But that’s old news. We’ve all heard about wind power potential. And interestingly enough, that’s not the only place where rural America fits into the equation for nationwide sustainability.

Naturally, the next place to look is solar energy. The sun beats down on rural communities harder than anywhere else, where foliage and shade can come at a serious premium. Not surprisingly, states with large rural backdrops, like New Mexico and Arizona are some of the largest producers of solar power. And they’re only getting better with the rampant development and waning costs of solar modules and arrays.

What’s more? Just look at where most of our country’s biofuel is coming from: corn. Of course, our reliance on corn for biofuel is a hotly debated topic, but the discussion is opening up research into alternate solutions for biofuel’s production in rural areas.

Programs like the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program are even tailored to give rural communities incentive beyond wind power. REAP helps communities finance anaerobic, geothermal and hydroelectric projects that are equally applicable to the landscape.

If you’re interested in hopping into the renewables scene, you’re in luck if you’re a country dweller. You’re already in a perfect position to get involved. Reach out to your local ordinances and see what grants are available, and start asking your neighbors about what they’ve done to stretch their renewable capacity beyond wind power. Opportunities are opening up for everyone from single households to large businesses. Here are a couple of good resources to get you started:

Best of luck, and here’s to a more sustainable rural America inspiring a more sustainable world.

Mia Henderson

Blogger at