Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research 19.1 (Spring 2009): 3-12. © 2009 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Wind energy has been growing rapidly in the Great Plains because of the region’s favorable wind resources and because it has been stimulated by a federal production tax credit and by state renewable portfolio standards. Wind energy installations also offer economic development opportunities for rural areas. The purpose of this study was to determine the socioeconomic effects of the recent development of a wind energy center on nearby communities. Project construction occurred over a six-month period, with the workforce peaking at 269. Project operation supports 10 permanent jobs and expenditures to local businesses and households totaling $1.4 million annually. These include easement payments to landowners totaling $413,000 the first year. In addition, the project is expected to make annual local property tax payments totaling $456,000. Wind energy projects do offer substantial economic benefits to nearby communities.