University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

National survey shows developer transparency is key to perceived fairness in wind project planning

More than 1.3 million homes across the United States are located within five miles of a large wind turbine. Yet, little is known about how wind turbine projects affect nearby homeowners or how these neighbors feel about them. The University of Delaware’s Jeremy Firestone is part of an international team, led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), which is focused on gaining a greater perspective on this issue. The group conducted the first national survey on public perceptions of individuals living near land-based wind power projects.

The 2016 survey collected data from 1,705 randomly selected individuals within five miles of 600 wind power projects across the country. Results are based on phone, mail and internet responses to more than 50 questions.

Firestone, who directs UD’s Center for Carbon Free Power Integration (CCPI) and is a professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy, is a leading expert in wind power research, teaching and policy. His work on the project focused on understanding fairness of the process and its relationship to whether people develop positive or negative attitudes about land-based wind projects. The work was done in collaboration with researchers from Berkeley Lab, Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg and the Medical School of Hamburg in Germany; RSG Incorporated, an independent consultancy group in Vermont; Portland State University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.