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New Dynamics in Fossil Fuel and Renewable Energy for Rural America

Author

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  • Brown, Jason P.
  • Coupal, Roger
  • Hitaj, Claudia
  • Kelsey, Timothy W.
  • Krannich, Richard S.
  • Xiarchos, Irene M.

Abstract

In the early 2000s, the United States energy landscape began a transformation driven by a dual boom in the expansion of renewable power installations and the extraction of natural gas and oil from shale plays through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. In this paper, we discuss the multi‐level regulatory context in which these two forms of energy development occur and review how they affect local communities, environment, and infrastructure, as well as government income and spending. In comparing the two, we remark that long‐term employment effects are relatively low for both forms of development, but unconventional fossil energy development has a heightened boom/bust potential with a large influx of workers spending a short amount of time on each well before moving on. Renewable power plants on the other hand can offer a steadier stream of income and tax revenue. Renewable power plants also have longer lasting visual impacts but lower environmental risks than unconventional fossil energy development. Finally, we consider how communities will have to adapt to navigate legacy and infrastructure constraints that accompany the shift from fossil to renewable power generation and from conventional to shale oil and gas resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Jason P. & Coupal, Roger & Hitaj, Claudia & Kelsey, Timothy W. & Krannich, Richard S. & Xiarchos, Irene M., 2017. "New Dynamics in Fossil Fuel and Renewable Energy for Rural America," USDA Miscellaneous 260676, United States Department of Agriculture.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:usdami:260676
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy; Community/Rural/Urban Development; Environmental Economics and Policy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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