Blowin’ in the Wind

Timlynn Babitsky | Side Benefits | Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
Rural America is definitely reaping the benefits of wind power. Lowering energy bills through net metering of power generated by a single turbine or leasing your land for a wind farm of turbines are just two of the most often touted benefits….but there is a whole lot more going on here.

In a January 2008 Farm Broadcasting Service interview with Allen Rider of the 25X’25 Steering committee, the benefits of wind energy were definitely the topic. Big benefits like income generation, climate stabilization, and natural gas savings are all important to be sure. But how about the more hidden benefits, like what does/does not require the use of other precious resources?

Water is a valuable commodity. Potable water will become a national challenge for this country in the not too distant future.” Rider noted. We see this already in the drought in the Southeast, especially in Georgia and Florida. “… if we can generate energy without needing to use the water, it’s certainly very beneficial and it’s positive for everyone involved because you can use those waters for either human consumption or growing food.”

Wind farms do not require water for steam or cooling.

Establishing a wind farm requires a workforce — as does ongoing management, maintenance and service.

“This is one of the few times that I’ve seen the opportunity for more jobs, good paying jobs, in rural America.” Rider says. He cites a U of Tennessee study that projects the creation of nearly five-million jobs associated with the development and the production of renewable energy. “So it can be a real boost for a rural economy, particularly in small farmer communities where there have not been opportunities for people to get jobs and stay in the area.”

To read more or to listen to the full interview, click here.

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