Ex post analysis of economic impacts from wind power development in U.S. counties
Wind power development has surged in recent years in the United States. Policymakers and economic development practitioners to date have typically relied upon project-level case studies or modeled input–output estimates to assess the economic development impacts from wind power, often focusing on potential local, state-wide, or national employment or earnings impacts. Building on this literature, we conduct an ex post econometric analysis of the county-level economic development impacts of wind power installations from 2000 through 2008 in a large, wind-rich region in the country. Taking into account factors influencing wind turbine location, we find an aggregate increase in county-level personal income and employment of approximately $11,000 and 0.5 jobs per megawatt of wind power capacity installed over the sample period of 2000 to 2008. These estimates appear broadly consistent with modeled input–output results, and translate to a median increase in total county personal income and employment of 0.2% and 0.4% for counties with installed wind power over the same period.
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