Magazine article Amber Waves

Effects of U.S. Wind Power Development on County-Level Income and Employment

Magazine article Amber Waves

Effects of U.S. Wind Power Development on County-Level Income and Employment

Article excerpt

The economic development potential of wind power has been a driver of public support for the industry for several years, particularly in rural areas. Nonetheless, questions persist regarding the magnitude of the economic development effects of wind power development on rural communities.

ERS researchers, in collaboration with researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, recently completed a study of the effects of wind power development on county-level income and employment in 12 States of the wind-rich Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions. In contrast to prior studies of economic impacts of wind power, which have relied on information from project-level case studies or model-based estimates, this study used econometric analysis of county-level income and employment data to assess impacts of wind power development on economic outcomes.

The findings reveal 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 study period 2000 to 2008. …

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