“Doing economic development in rural areas is tricky. Most folks that are ranching and farming really don’t want to see their cultural values affected by development,” says Dana Peck, Executive Director of the Goldendale, Washington, Chamber of Commerce. “Wind energy brings economic development, but it doesn’t bring change.”
Consider, for example, Benton County, Indiana, in the rural northwestern corner of the state.
Home to just shy of 9,000 people, Benton County also hosts more than half of Indiana’s wind turbine capacity, and that has brought enormous benefits to its residents.
Wind has attracted over $2 billion of investment into the county and created nearly 100 new full-time jobs, plus many more construction jobs as the area’s wind farms were built. Wind revenue has benefited its housing market and local businesses, helped keep taxes low and allowed the county pay off debt, according to the Benton County Economic Development organization.
To honor this homegrown success story, the industry has launched the first-ever American Wind Week. On-the-ground events from New Hampshire to California taking place this week will highlight how wind power creates opportunity and prosperity. That includes a fair on the town square in Fowler, Benton County, where the community will come together to celebrate the ways wind has helped the area thrive.
Read more at the full article at Huffington Post.
GEUDA SPRINGS, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE) is proud of U.S. leadership in wind power – America’s largest source of renewable energy capacity supporting over 100,000 U.S. jobs across all 50 states. Modern wind turbines were invented in the U.S. and American wind projects are among the most productive in the world. This week is the first American Wind Week, when businesses, schools, government and communities across the country are encouraged to share what American wind power leadership means to them.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said, “Wind energy allows us to harness the power of our vast lands. This renewable form of energy allows us to generate power today while preserving natural resources for our children’s tomorrow.”
Close to 99 percent of U.S. wind power capacity can be found in rural communities like Geuda Springs, Kansas, where EDF RE is hosting a tour for Kansas legislators at the Slate Creek Wind Project. Wind projects throughout the state have drawn close to $10 billion in capital investment. Nationwide, U.S. wind projects built over the last decade represent over $143 billion of investment.
Similar stories can be found across the U.S. heartland, where harvesting the wind builds stronger rural communities, including a quarter billion dollars being paid in lease payments to farmers and ranchers each year, and local taxes being used to repave roads, pay teachers higher salaries, and even build new schools.
Read more at the full release here.