Attitudes of U.S. Wind Turbine Neighbors: Analysis of a Nationwide Survey

Eric Lantz, Ben Hoen, Jeremy Firestone, Joseph Rand, Debi Elliot, Gundula Hubner, Johannes Pohl, Ryan Wiser, T. Haac, Ken Kaliski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus Citations


Experts predict continuing deployment of wind turbines in the United States, which will create more interactions between turbines and surrounding communities. Policymakers can benefit from analyses of existing wind projects that enable them to better understand likely effects on residents around proposed projects. Our analysis of a randomly drawn, representative national survey of 1705 existing U.S. wind project neighbors provides previously unavailable detail about factors influencing the attitudes of these neighbors toward their local wind projects. Overall, we find positive-leaning attitudes, which improve over time as individuals self-select into communities near existing wind projects. Hearing wind turbines leads to less-positive attitudes, although living very near to turbines does not, nor does seeing wind turbines. In fact, our findings suggest complex relationships among nearby residents’ attitudes, their perceptions about the particular fit of turbines within their landscape and community, and their perceptions of wind project impacts on property values. These findings—along with the positive correlation between perceived planning-process fairness and attitude—suggest areas of focus for wind project development that may influence social outcomes and acceptance of wind energy. The concluding discussion provides a number of policy and future research recommendations based on the research.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number110981
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-74815


  • Attitudes
  • Cross-sectional survey
  • Social acceptance
  • Tiebout sorting
  • Wind power


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