New study advocates decentralized ownership of rural wind, renewable energy projects

A new Ford Foundation-sponsored report from the “New Rules” project of the Institute for Local Self Reliance (written by John Farrell and David Morris) indicates that

The next 20 years could generate as much as $1 trillion in new renewable energy investment in rural America [and the report] provides a policy roadmap for states and the federal government that would encourage modest-sized renewable energy facilities and local ownership.

The report states

… Current federal incentives largely enable a highly centralized and absentee owned renewable energy industry concentrated in relatively few states. The federal government, states, and rural communities should redesign these policies to encourage a highly decentralized and dispersed renewable energy industry that is significantly locally owned. Doing so would multiply the number of rural areas that benefit from burgeoning renewable energy industries, and would create a sustainable asset whose wealth and revenue will largely remain in revived local communities and regions.

This report examines the current impact of renewable energy on rural communities and identifies existing and potential policies that could dramatically expand the economic benefit this new sector can bring to these communities.

Report and press release is here.

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