BENTONVILLE, Ark., October 13, 2023 (Newswire.com) - Rural communities are often left out of conversations about economic growth and funding opportunities, but on Oct. 25-27, federal officials, financiers, researchers, and experts on key areas of opportunity will gather in the home of rural economic innovation to change that at the Rural Renaissance Roadshow hosted by Groundswell.
The Roadshow comes at a crucial time for rural American communities. For decades, rural downtowns and the surrounding communities across the country have struggled to navigate market shifts and rising inflation. Recently announced resources and opportunities are now available to help communities move forward, including the largest investment in rural power in more than 100 years. The Roadshow will equip rural leaders with the information and practical technical support communities need to get local projects funded and built.
“Providing clean, reliable, and affordable electric service to our rural citizens matters. Today, electric utilities are experiencing a unique combination of both market forces and federal policy driving us towards cleaner and more technologically advanced energy delivery. As rural electric cooperative leaders, we owe it to our rural member-consumers to make sure they are not left behind as the industry experiences imminent transition,” said Curtis Wynn, SECO Energy CEO, who will deliver a keynote address at the Roadshow.
The Roadshow will feature practical hands-on workshops on topics including opportunities to improve community resilience; how to work with impact investors committed to rural communities; and how to fund clean energy programs that reduce clean energy burdens and improve quality of life.
While the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) included billions of dollars for rural resilience, clean power, and other infrastructure projects, rural communities and the small utilities and municipal governments that serve them often lack the staff and technical capacity to fill out the funding applications. Additionally, decades of out-migration and persistent poverty create additional barriers to project implementation, though these same characteristics make rural communities a priority for federal investment.
“More people may live in urban centers because that’s where the jobs have been, but when you ask, most people will tell you they'd rather live in a small town,” said Michelle Moore, Groundswell CEO and author of Rural Renaissance. “Between the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and IRA — our nation’s dual investment in infrastructure and energy — we can deploy those dollars into rural communities to help create places where families can thrive again. The Rural Renaissance Roadshow is bringing people together to do just that.”
Registration for the Rural Renaissance Roadshow is $75 and includes all meals. Travel scholarships are available for attendees representing communities with a population of less than 20,000 residents.
Alicia B. Hill
Associate Manager of Marketing & Communications
Original Source: Rural Renaissance Roadshow to Connect Rural Leaders to Resources for Economic Development