A recent study documents the impact of county-level income and employment on rural communities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service conducted a study with researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory on wind power’s effects on county-level income and employment in 12 states in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions. Each additional megawatt of wind power installation translates into about $11,000 of personal income in the county. According to economist Jason Brown, the findings are consistent with prior literature on the possible effects of wind power.
For the study, researchers analyzed wind power development’s effect between 2000 and 2008 in more than 1,000 counties. By looking at wind-rich areas in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, researches were able to estimate regional growth models that would find differences in personal income and employment where wind power development existed.
“Essentially what we found is that in the places where there was installation, the amount of income that was represented as being generated from wind power development was about 0.2%,” Brown explains. “Likewise, for employment, the amount of employment developed by wind power development was 0.4%.”
Source: Wind Power Development’s Economic Impact on Rural Communities, WindPoweringAmerica.gov