Renewable energy and rural areas are mutually beneficial. As the green energy industry continues to grow, you need to know where to expand next. And rural areas are the place to go for success.

How Rural Areas Can Benefit From Renewable Energy

Megan Ray Nichols | Schooled by Science


Jobs in less populated regions are often dependent on natural resources and manufacturing jobs, such as coal mines or automotive plants, but jobs within these specific industries are disappearing. Car companies are outsourcing their production plants while the coal industry is experiencing lower demand for coal, resulting in mine closures.

Renewable energy offers to replace those industries and supply those jobs. Families in rural areas not only gain employment and job security, but they may receive reduced heating and electric bills and a boost to their local town’s economy. No matter where you live, renewable energy offers the environmental benefit.


Solar and Wind Energy Renew Rural America

The benefits of renewable energy that can help revitalize and renew rural America can be divided into two sections: the environment and the local economy.

  • Environmental Benefits

Solar and wind power, the two most common choices for businesses and residences, produce almost zero global warming emissions. Wind and solar also don’t require water, which is a major benefit for rural areas where farms are common. By not needing water, wind and solar don’t pollute water resources or drinking water.

Use of renewable energy for electricity and heating helps lower the U.S.’s global warming emissions. Right now, electricity releases a third of the country’s global warming emissions. Coal-powered sources provide 25 percent of those electricity emissions.  

If the U.S. generated 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, like wind or solar, it’d reduce its emissions by more than 80 percent. Rural areas are ideal locations to begin that large-scale energy production because they offer wide spaces of open land that could be used for energy farms while still maintaining their agricultural value.

  • Local Economy Benefits

Renewable energy jobs promise to renew rural areas in ways the fossil fuel industry won’t. Unlike the fossil fuel industry, which features mechanized technology, the renewable energy industry is much more labor-focused and intensive.

More renewable energy jobs, as a result, are created than positions in the fossil fuel industry. In the solar energy field, which is one of the fastest growing renewable energy industries, there are more jobs than in oil, gas and coal extraction.   

And the jobs available encompass all experience levels and fields of expertise, from engineering to sales and management positions. Rural areas then receive work in their primary employment fields: manufacturing and natural resources.


Harness Wind Power

Wind turbines can be manufactured in smaller towns and be used for harvesting wind, a natural resource. Renewable energy is predicted to create more than 200,000 new jobs by 2025, if the 25 percent renewable energy standard is reached, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

That’s three times as many jobs in comparison to the jobs the fossil fuel industry would create for the same amount of generated electricity.

Local renewable energy jobs stimulate local economies. Businesses, directly and indirectly, also benefit. A couple of obvious ways are through renewable energy industries contracting with local businesses and residents having money to spend at local shops, restaurants and businesses.


Renewable Energy Installs for Small Towns

Solar and wind energy installations are viable options for rural towns and their residents due to their decreased costs, as well as the creation of grants, tax breaks and loans.

Wind turbine installations can take an extensive amount of time due to their size, but solar panels are quick and easy to install. Experienced technicians streamline the process and help recommend ideal solar panel types for different climates and locations. Solar panels that meet a location’s weather and climate, as well as the community’s budget, often last longer and are more efficient.

Installations typically take one to three days, depending on the size and number of panels. Most solar panels today are connected to a home’s inverter, so that power can be drawn from the power grid if necessary.

Rural towns have several options for investing in renewable power like wind energy. Many government grants, loans and tax incentives are available to encourage areas to adopt renewable energy.

Government loans, such as the Clean Renewable Energy Bond, offers loans with zero percent interest rates, while the Rural Utilities Service Electric Loan Program has $40 billion available in loans for rural areas.

Some states, such as Virginia and Maryland, offer tax incentives for installing wind or solar energy.

Wind energy cooperatives are another option for rural towns. A series of small towns in a county partner together to install wind turbines and then provide power to the community. Any excess power can potentially be sold to power companies.


Rural areas benefit from renewable energy in several ways. It boosts their local economy, provides jobs and contributes to the growth of a power grid based on renewable energy — not fossil fuels. They’re also ideal because they have the acreage and farmland to have solar panels and wind turbines while still have the ability to farm crops or tend livestock.

Renewable energy and rural areas are mutually beneficial. As the green energy industry continues to grow, you need to know where to expand next. And rural areas are the place to go for success.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
Megan Ray Nichols - Contributing Author

Megan Ray Nichols - Contributing Author

Megan Ray Nichols is a blogger and freelance science writer. She posts weekly on her blog, Schooled By Science, about the latest news in science and technology. When she isn't writing, Megan enjoys reading and hiking.

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