Wind deployment in the United States: States, resources, policy, and discourse

Elizabeth J. Wilson, Jennie C. Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A transformation in the way the United States produces and uses energy is needed to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets for climate change mitigation. Wind power is an important low-carbon technology and the most rapidly growing renewable energy technology in the U.S. Despite recent advances in wind deployment, significant state-by-state variation in wind power distribution cannot be explained solely by wind resource patterns nor by state policy. Other factors embedded within the state-level socio-political context also contribute to wind deployment patterns. We explore this sociopolitical context in four U.S. states by integrating multiple research methods. Through comparative state-level analysis of the energy system, energy policy, and public discourse as represented in the media, we examine variation in the context for wind deployment in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, andTexas. Ourresultsdemonstratethat these stateshavedifferent patterns of wind deployment, are engaged in different debates about wind power, and appear to frame the risks and benefits of wind power in different ways. This comparative assessment highlights the complex variation of the state-level socio-political context and contributes depth to our understanding of energy technology deployment processes, decisionmaking, and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9063-9070
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2009
Externally publishedYes


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