Explaining Resident Attitudes toward Wind Energy Development in the Sandhills

Sean Downey, Pierce Greenberg, Mary Ann Vinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


—Like other regions across the Great Plains, the Sandhills of Nebraska has been identified as a promising region for the expansion of wind energy development. But residents have mixed views regarding their support for the industry. In this study, we seek to examine the attitudinal and socio-demographic factors that contribute to individuals’ support or opposition to the development of wind energy in Brown County, Nebraska. We collected data from a 37-question mail survey that was completed by more than 150 residents. Our analysis found that concerns about visual unattractiveness and perceived health effects were the most salient concerns driving opposition to wind energy development. The perceptions of job creation by wind energy and of unfair treatment in the planning and siting process influence wind attitudes when examined independently but are not significant net of other variables. Additionally, the perceived frequency of seeing turbines and party identification have significant effects on attitudes of support toward wind. We discuss how these results illustrate the context-dependent nature of attitudes toward wind— and how that might influence patterns of wind acceptance and resistance in different contexts across the Great Plains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalGreat Plains Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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