Wind Development As ‘Sustainable Entrepreneurship’
Editor’s note: A paper on “sustainable entrepreneurship” by Cathy Hartman and Edwin Stafford that was published in “Rural Connections,” a publication put out by the Western Rural Development Center has been picked up by Clean Technica.com, a prominent clean technology blog. That has led to their research being posted or cited in dozens of publications and blogs. On solarblogs.com, for example, the story drew more than 43,000 hits the first week after it was posted. What follows are the opening two paragraphs of that post followed by a link for those who want to read for themselves the piece that’s generating so much online discussion.
June 21, 2013 Guest Contributor
Below is an excellent guest post from researchers at Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. These researchers have been doing some wonderful work related to “green messaging,” with a special focus on wind power issues. Enjoy the read:
By Edwin Stafford and Cathy Hartman
The public discourse about energy in the West often centers on federal government policies and their impact on economic development, land use, and protecting the environment. The issues are complex, but are often simplified into discordant narratives, such as America’s need for “energy independence” and an “all of the above strategy” to “drill, baby, drill” to the “war on coal” and the promise of “green jobs” to the federal government’s “picking losers,” as in the case of Solyndra, a failed solar company that received federal loan guarantees. Such framing of issues into catchphrases and bumper sticker slogans ultimately proves obfuscating and politically divisive, leading to policy gridlock and uncertainty for energy markets and business development.
While federal policies are important issues, make-or-break decisions about energy development are made ultimately at the local community level in the chambers of city councils and town hall meetings. Renewable energies, such as wind, solar, and geothermal technologies, increasingly pose significant, if novel economic opportunities to revitalize Western, rural communities and steer them onto cleaner, more sustainable paths. What’s often left out of public conversations, however, is how private businesses and entrepreneurs might step up and dare to navigate the renewable energy development process, especially in communities that haven’t hosted renewable energy projects before. Our research indicates that it takes vision, perseverance, business and political acumen, and daredevil risk-taking to commit the time, talent, and money necessary to transform renewable energies into viable businesses.