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Measuring the impacts of wind energy projects on U.S. rural counties’ community services and cost of living

Eman Ahmed Hamed Shoeib, Elisabeth Hamin Infield and Henry C. Renski

Energy Policy, 2021, vol. 153, issue C

Abstract: Wind power development has rapidly expanded in rural areas in the United States. Numerous studies addressing the impacts of wind development on rural communities focus on overall economic, environmental, and social effects (Brown et al., 2012; Kahn, 2013; Mulvaney et al., 2013). This research builds on those to add the impacts of substantial wind power development on community services and the cost of living, focusing on eleven rural counties with wind energy development over 1000 MW in five different states in the U.S. The research uses descriptive statistical analysis to document county-level changes in the population size, employment, and poverty rate before and after hosting substantial wind projects from 1990 to 2015. Qualitative analysis of interviews and county documents identified data on and perceptions of the impacts of the wind projects on tax revenues as well as community services. We find that wind development tax income improved community services without any noticeable increases in required community services or cost of living. From a policy perspective, these results are most relevant for local governors and planners, who seek to balance the cost and benefits of wind farms to the rural community.

Keywords: Wind energy development; Descriptive statistical; Semi-structured interview; Documents analysis; Rural communities; Community services (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112279

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