“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.