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Welcoming the Wind? Determinants of Wind Power Development Among U.S. States
The Professional Geographer
  • Christiane Bohn
  • Christopher L. Lant, Utah State University
Document Type
Taylor & Francis Online
Publication Date
Although currently supplying less than 1 percent of consumption, wind is the fastest growing source of electricity in the United States. This article analyzes the emerging geography of wind energy on a state-by-state basis. Rather than physical wind energy potential, the primary determinants of wind energy development among U.S. states are human geographic factors of population distribution, and resulting geography of electricity demand and transmission line accessibility, together with state-based energy policies, including electric utility restructuring, renewable portfolio standards, and procedures for siting and permitting wind farms. Although simplified state-level siting and permitting procedures that minimize opportunities for local opposition show a statistical advantage in wind energy development, examination of U.S. examples of local opposition to wind farms and the European experience in wind energy development show that community acceptability of wind farms depends on procedural legitimacy in siting decisions and a perceived aesthetic fit between wind farms and the local landscape.
Citation Information
Bohn, C. and C.L. Lant, 2009. Welcoming the Wind? The Determinants of Wind Energy Development among U.S. States. The Professional Geographer 61(1): 87-100.