Beauty in motion: Expectations, attitudes, and values of wind energy development in the rural U.S

Joshua Fergen, Jeffrey B. Jacquet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Attitudes towards wind energy development are influenced by a number of social, political, and geographic factors. Initial resident expectations for a development, and then the degree to which these expectations were later met can help explain support or opposition for wind energy. Yet, the role of met or unmet expectations is not well researched in explaining perceptions of and attitudes towards wind energy development. This study explores the relationship between met and unmet expectations and resident attitudes towards wind energy, as well as perceptions of wind turbine beauty, for rural residents near two wind energy projects in the U.S. state of South Dakota (SD). A survey (n = 239) administered in 2014 across two counties investigates the process of attitude and expectation formation towards the projects as they developed. Results show that the majority of residents had positive expectations, and these expectations are largely unmet; nonetheless, most residents retain positive attitudes towards both projects, although certain types of expectations are related to more positive or more negative attitudes. Furthermore, the survey results show that residents find turbines in motion to be more beautiful than static turbines - demonstrating the role of economic and environmental values in influencing wind energy attitudes and expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Economic beliefs
  • Environmental attitudes
  • Expectations
  • Wind energy


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