Social Perspectives on Wind-Power Development in West Texas
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Since 2000, U.S. wind-energy capacity has increased 24 percent per year, with Texas emerging as the leading state. Multidimensionality, economic decline, and ownership-participation hypotheses dominate recent geographical research on social perspectives toward wind energy. We examine these hypotheses regarding support of wind power from the perspective of a county that leads Texas in installed capacity. Using Q-method, we present empirically determined, statistically significant social perspectives regarding wind energy. Key actors surveyed included landowners with wind turbines, elected and civil service government officials, and prominent local business and community leaders. We identified five significant clusters of opinion varying in terms of degree of support for wind energy and concern for negative impacts. Stakeholders use economic decline discursively to support wind power, but views on tax policy and distribution of costs and benefits of wind power condition the overall favorable position of key actors to wind-energy development. Specific forms of ownership and participation and positions on tax abatements for attracting wind farms frame discourses of support for wind power. © 2011 by Association of American Geographers Initial submission, February 2010.
author list (cited authors)
Brannstrom, C., Jepson, W., & Persons, N.