Energy and Its Implications for Rural America is the Focus of a New Series of Policy Briefs

Posted: January 9, 2014

The National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Center (NARDeP) has issued a series of seven policy briefs focusing on energy in the U.S. Each brief examines a different aspect of energy production or consumption and provides analysis of the associated policy implications for rural communities.
Image source: USDA

Image source: USDA

"Rapid changes in energy production and consumption are having and will continue to have major socioeconomic implications for the residents and communities of rural America, and policy decisions will have profound consequences," said NARDeP Associate Director Don Albrecht. "Thus the time is appropriate for a careful exploration of our energy future. These policy briefs represent the latest research by top scholars with the goal of clarifying options and providing the basis for informed policy decisions."

For example, in the brief titled "Rural Energy Use and the Challenges for Energy Conservation and Efficiency," the authors identify several ways in which energy consumption in rural areas differs from that of urban areas, and makes a case for a mix of energy policies to address these differences. In "Economic Implications of Unconventional Fossil Fuel Production," the authors examine the socioeconomic impacts of natural gas extraction and offer measures that rural communities can take to minimize the long-term impacts of the short-term economic booms associated with shale-gas development. Similarly, the authors of "Wind and Solar Energy in the U.S." provide recommendations for promoting renewable energy in ways that will optimize outcomes for rural communities.

All the policy briefs in the series were published by NARDeP after a blind peer-review process and are freely available on the NARDeP website. Titles in the series include:

NARDeP was organized in 2012 by the four U.S. Regional Rural Development Centers and is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) under a competitive grant (Number 2012-70002-19385 ). A virtual center based at Penn State University, NARDeP engages land-grant universities as well as national organizations, agencies, and experts to develop and deliver timely policy-relevant information around signature areas identified by its advisory boards. More information about NARDeP is available at


  • Don Albrecht, NARDeP Associate Director, Director of Western Rural Development Center, Utah State University,