Over the last decade, wind power has emerged as a possible source of energy and has attracted the attention of homeowners and policy makers worldwide. Many technological hurdles have been overcome in the last few years that make this technology feasible and economical. The United States has added more wind power than any other type of electric generation in 2012. Depending on the location, wind resources have shown to have the potential to offer 20% of the nation's electricity; a single, large wind turbine has the capacity to produce enough electricity to power 350 homes. Throughout the development of wind turbines, however, energy companies have seen significant public opposition towards the tall white structures.
The purpose of this research was to measure peoples' perceptions on wind turbine development throughout their growth, from proposal to existing phase. Three hypotheses were developed based on the participant's political affiliation, proximity and knowledge of wind turbines. To validate these hypotheses, participants were asked an array of questions regarding their perception on economic, environmental, and social impacts of wind turbines with an online service called Amazon Mechanical Turk. The responses were from residents living in the United States and required them to provide their zip code for subsequent analysis.
The analysis from the data obtained suggests that participants are favorable towards wind turbine development and would be supportive of using the technology in their community. Political affiliation and proximity to the nearest wind turbine in any phase of development (proposal, construction, existing) were also analyzed to determine if they had an effect on a person's overall perception on wind turbines and their technology. From the analysis, political affiliation was seen to be an indirect factor to understanding favorability towards wind turbines; the more liberal you are, the more supportive you will be towards renewable energy use. Proximity, however, was found to not make a significant difference throughout the analysis, suggesting that exposure to wind turbines in any stage of development does not decrease a person's favorable perception towards wind turbines. Results also showed that those who found wind technology to be reliable, are twice as likely to have an overall positive perception and want to implement them into their communities. Socio-economic implications were also seen within the research suggesting those who believe wind turbines will benefit their local community will be more favorable towards developing them in their community.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Wind power--Public opinion; Wind power--Social aspects; Wind power--Economic aspects
Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Science Technology and Society/Public Policy (CLA)
Stein, Tatiana, "What Factors Influence Wind Perceptions" (2013). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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