In "Energy Self Reliant States," David Morris and John Farrell write that the benefits of our energy resources can be of much greater benefits to states if they are locally owned.
. . . states have been the driving force behind renewable energy developments, largely because they correctly view these as economic development initiatives. In the next 20 years, the United States may invest up to $1 trillion in new renewable energy projects. All states can and should benefit from this investment. There’s a lot at stake, as characterized by Minnesota community wind developer Dan Juhl:
I live out on the Buffalo Ridge...I look out my window and I see hundreds of wind turbines. When I look at those turbines I'm happy and I'm sad... Most of those turbines are owned by our friends, the foreign multinationals. Out of two counties in Minnesota we export about 80 million dollars a year to France, Florida, Italy, Portugal, Spain. All of our energy future is going out the door when we could be turning that into something real for us.
As the data in "Energy Self Reliant States" suggests, states would do well to look inward for their energy security. This strategy can yield profound economic and social benefits. Expanding wind power to 20% of generation in several Plains states will create nearly 158,000 jobs, with 20,000 jobs beyond the construction phase of the wind farms. Local economic benefits will total over $1.6 billion a year during the wind farms operations (“Renewable Energy and Economic Potential in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota,” Center for Rural Affairs, August 2009). And widely dispersed energy production can be the basis for a resilient energy system.
Through encouraging Minnesotans to invest in wind turbines by allowing them tax breaks equivalent to those given to large corporations that own wind turbines, more of the revenues from the electricity produced would remain in Minnesota and contribute to Minnesota's local economies.