Wind Working Group Toolkit

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Photo from First Wind, NREL 16738

In the past decade, wind has become one of the fastest-growing sources of electricity generation in the United States. Wind turbine technologies and project costs have changed rapidly in recent years. Wind farm siting and technological improvements have reduced wind energy costs and impacts to neighbors and the environment. At the same time, the benefits of wind energy and diversity of possible applications have continued to increase. WINDExchange disseminates information from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Program research and cultivates networks of regional partners to help support the effective transfer of information, using forums such as this wiki toolkit.

WINDExchange provides wind energy information that is fact-based, relevant, and actionable so that:

  • Individuals and communities can make informed decisions about the benefits and impacts of wind energy.
  • Decision-makers involved in wind energy planning and permitting are supported with current and credible information.


Siting Wind Projects

Environmental impacts are important considerations in siting wind energy projects, just as they should be for other power plant or transmission line projects.[1] Environmental and other siting issues can be raised during the permitting process for wind projects. In many cases, issues raised during the permitting process for wind turbines can be similar to issues raised for permitting other development projects; in other cases, the issues are unique to the wind technology. The successful development of a wind project is typically the result of balancing the project’s economic viability and overcoming any siting issues. If a project will cost too much as a result of environmental or community issues, the developer will probably terminate pursuit of the wind project — as would be the case with any other type of development project.[2]

The following pages provide links to resources that provide credible information about wind energy siting:

Wind Energy Social Acceptance

Photo from Amanda Ormond, NREL 16846

Wind power is an important contributor to renewable energy, climate, and energy security targets set by many countries around the globe. However, wind power development is often delayed due to opposition at the regional or local level.[3]

Why the opposition? As wind energy is implemented in an area, change can be perceived as threatening. Public objectives can conflict with expanded development, and stakeholders can feel threatened by new options. Siting and public decision-makers need an accurate and objective understanding of the issues, as well as a consistent set of standards or knowledge on which to base decisions.

Siting and public decision-makers may face:

  • Conflicting info, competing claims, valid and baseless concerns
  • An absence of independent (scientific, peer-reviewed) information.[4]

Social or community acceptance can be defined as "societal consensus on the planning, construction, and operation of wind power projects," and it can be a powerful facilitator of wind development.[3]

The following pages provide links to resources that provide credible information about wind energy social acceptance topics.

Economic Development & Impacts

Federal, State, & Local Policies



  1.  "National Wind Coordinating Committee. Technical Considerations in Siting Wind Developments"
  2.  "U.S. Department of Energy. State Wind Working Group Handbook"
  3. 3.0 3.1  "International Energy Agency. Social Acceptance of Wind Energy Projects"
  4.  "National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Social Acceptance of Wind Energy: Managing and Evaluating Its Market Impacts"