Renewable Energy and Economic Potential

There is no legislation in Congress with greater potential to create jobs and directly impact economic development and revitalization in rural America than the renewable energy bill currently pending in the U.S. Senate.
According to a recent Center for Rural Affairs report (http://files.cfra.org/pdf/Renewable-Energy-and-Economic-Potential.pdf), expanding production of renewable electricity to 20% of the nation's electrical generation has the potential to create over 1.6 million new, permanent jobs in operations and maintenance of wind farms. Many, if not most, of those jobs would be created in rural areas.

Jobs are only a part of the potential economic benefit of a 20% renewable electricity standard. Farmers and ranchers would stand to benefit as well - to the tune of approximately $782 million, $5,000 per wind turbine, in annual payments for leasing land for wind turbines, access roads and the like. Wind energy development initiatives that allow farmers and ranchers to share in the ownership of turbines as well as the profits generated by their operation would provide even greater economic benefits.

The renewable electricity standard is important, but it is crucial that the standard that came out of the Senate Energy Committee - 10% from wind, solar, geothermal, new hydoelectric and biomass by the year 2021 - be strengthened on the floor of the Senate in order for rural America to realize the fullest economic potential of wind energy development. Rural America should be part of America's energy future and the accompanying, unprecedented opportunity to create jobs and a better future for our rural communities.

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