Jason Barton

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Rural Economic Development and Environmental Health: Growing Hand in Hand

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Ahh…, the sweet sounds of economic development and environmental health, each growing hand in hand, as it should be.

Technology and other forms of innovation are making the conjunction of these essential benefits easier and easier to achieve.

This development is not shutting out the most common energy resources, “While renewable energy industries are generating lots of buzz, the traditional sectors of oil and gas are especially booming in Weld,” but is still working on the kinds of renewable energy that will be, hopefully, much more common in coming decades.

As the article below points out, not only is renewable energy creating jobs, it is creating high-paying jobs that will increase prosperity today and encourage greater education for tomorrow, all while improving the US balance of trade and making it easier for us to meet our current energy demands without compromising, but improving the prospects for future generations of Americans to do the same.

Thank you, Weld County, Colorado, for providing the example.

Greeley Tribune

Weld’s economy gets energized

Expanding renewable energy industries join the entrenched oil and gas, which is experiencing a boom of its own

By Chris Casey

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wind turbines from the Cedar Creek Wind Farm near Grover in north Weld County and an oil/gas pump are some of the vast energy sources that are produced locally. Weld County has become one of Colorado’s leaders in energy production.

From the growing exurbs of Frederick and Dacono to the wind-swept prairie along the Wyoming border, Weld County has established itself as an energy hotbed.
The oil and gas industry has been a big player here for decades, accounting for 40 percent or more of Weld’s assessed valuation for at least 17 years, said Barbara Kirkmeyer, a Weld County commissioner. The industry accounts for about 4,000 jobs in Weld and supplies the county just shy of $50 million in property tax revenue annually.
But just as wells go through layer after layer of earth to reach the sweet spot, other energy industries are now stacking up in northeast Colorado: the renewable sectors of solar, wind and biomass.

Wind turbines from the Cedar Creek Wind Farm near Grover in north Weld County and an oil/gas pump are some of the vast energy sources that are produced locally. Weld County has become one of Colorado’s leaders in energy production.

Read the entire article here.

Powering a Community

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This sleepy rural town is far ahead of so many others in terms of their vision. Sure, it would be difficult for them to accomplish their goals without the massive influx of government funds, but since utility companies are often major expenditures for cities of any size, the vision here will likely be a money saver in the long run.

It’s especially important to note the strategy they’ve adopted: diverse energy technologies coupled with overall reductions in energy use. A very wise strategy indeed.

When Orson Squire Fowler bought the land that would one day become the Town of Fowler, he anticiapted a great future for both Colorado and the town. O.S. Fowler envisioned community farms producing organic food, livestock and a quality of life second to none.

Today, “Community Powered” is the slogan that exemplifies this rural community’s goal of energy independence by harnessing the area’s abundant wind, solar and biomass resources while implementing conservation. How is this sustainable vision being transformed into reality?

Download the full article here.