University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

CLOSUP Wind Project

The Impact of Wind Energy on Rural Communities - North Central Climate Collaborative

This webinar was presented to members of the North Central Climate Collaborative (NC3), a network of university Extension educators who work across the Midwest with farmers and farm advisors. In this webinar, Sarah Mills presents data from her surveys of over 3,200 landowners in 10 Michigan townships with windfarms to provide insight on the effects of wind turbines on local communities — not just on how the landscape looks, but the effects of wind turbines on farm incomes, local government services, and relationships with neighbors. She also discusses the advice she shares with communities that are considering hosting wind turbines, and the extent to which the lessons from Michigan can apply throughout the Midwest.

The University of Michigan's CLOSUP Wind Project has conducted multiple surveys to better understand local policy issues related to wind energy development in the state. These surveys seek to learn more about the perceived pros and cons of wind energy, and document the impacts that windfarms have had on Michigan communities. This includes perceptions of noise and human health effects, as well as impacts on farm income, and township and county property tax revenues. A recent grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation has allowed us to expand this research and better communicate the results directly with local communities.


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University of Michigan Gateway Ford School Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy