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A tale of three counties: Understanding wind development in the rural Midwestern United States


  • Mulvaney, Kate K.
  • Woodson, Patrick
  • Prokopy, Linda Stalker


Understanding the context in which local wind farm development has been accepted by the local community is important for meeting the United States' wind energy goals. To further this understanding in the rural Midwest, we investigated three counties in Indiana with varying levels of wind farm development using a mail survey, stakeholder interviews and a review of local newspaper articles and government documents. We found high levels of acceptance for wind energy in general and for local wind farms in all three counties despite the differences in actual development. Multiple statistical methods were employed to identify factors leading to support of wind turbines within the community, but support was so high that no individual factors were identified as statistically significant. The survey and interviews showed that reasons for support of wind energy include economic benefits to the local community, environmental benefits and the protection of the agricultural lifestyle and landscape. Reasons for opposition include concerns about setback distances, impacts on rural lifestyles, and impacts on other types of development. Despite overall community support, the support of the local county governments varied and appears to have greatly impacted wind farm development within their jurisdictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Mulvaney, Kate K. & Woodson, Patrick & Prokopy, Linda Stalker, 2013. "A tale of three counties: Understanding wind development in the rural Midwestern United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 322-330.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:56:y:2013:i:c:p:322-330
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.12.064

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Groth, Theresa M. & Vogt, Christine A., 2014. "Rural wind farm development: Social, environmental and economic features important to local residents," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-8.
    2. Lang, Corey & Opaluch, James J. & Sfinarolakis, George, 2014. "The windy city: Property value impacts of wind turbines in an urban setting," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 413-421.
    3. Hoen, Ben & Firestone, Jeremy & Rand, Joseph & Elliot, Debi & Hübner, Gundula & Pohl, Johannes & Wiser, Ryan & Lantz, Eric & Haac, T. Ryan & Kaliski, Ken, 2019. "Attitudes of U.S. Wind Turbine Neighbors: Analysis of a Nationwide Survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    4. Kumar, Indraneel & Tyner, Wallace E. & Sinha, Kumares C., 2016. "Input–output life cycle environmental assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from utility scale wind energy in the United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 294-301.
    5. Nils May & Øivind A. Nilsen, 2019. "The Local Economic Impact of Wind Power Deployment," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 75(1), pages 56-92.
    6. Schumacher, Kim & Yang, Zhuoxiang, 2018. "The determinants of wind energy growth in the United States: Drivers and barriers to state-level development," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 1-13.
    7. Anna Dóra Sæþórsdóttir & C. Michael Hall, 2019. "Contested Development Paths and Rural communities: Sustainable Energy or Sustainable Tourism in Iceland?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(13), pages 1-27, July.
    8. Shen, Shiran Victoria & Cain, Bruce E. & Hui, Iris, 2019. "Public receptivity in China towards wind energy generators: A survey experimental approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 619-627.
    9. Haggerty, Julia H. & Haggerty, Mark & Rasker, Ray, 2014. "Uneven Local Benefits of Renewable Energy in the U.S. West: Property Tax Policy Effects," Western Economics Forum, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 13(1), pages 1-16.
    10. Christian Brannstrom & Mary Tilton & Andrew Klein & Wendy Jepson, 2015. "Spatial Distribution of Estimated Wind-Power Royalties in West Texas," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-18, December.
    11. Tabassum-Abbasi, & Premalatha, M. & Abbasi, Tasneem & Abbasi, S.A., 2014. "Wind energy: Increasing deployment, rising environmental concerns," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 270-288.
    12. Groth, Theresa M. & Vogt, Christine, 2014. "Residents' perceptions of wind turbines: An analysis of two townships in Michigan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 251-260.
    13. Fast, Stewart & Mabee, Warren, 2015. "Place-making and trust-building: The influence of policy on host community responses to wind farms," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 27-37.
    14. Diógenes, Jamil Ramsi Farkat & Claro, João & Rodrigues, José Coelho, 2019. "Barriers to onshore wind farm implementation in Brazil," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 253-266.


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