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What's a wind farm worth?

Jeff Caldwell 03/04/2013 @ 3:49pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

What's a wind farm worth to a rural area and nearby small communities?

In a study comprising 12 "wind-rich" states in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, USDA researchers found county-wide personal incomes rose by $11,000 and there's half a new job created for every megawatt of energy generated by wind power.

"The typical county in the study region with installed wind turbines (approximately 12 percent of counties) had capacity in place in 2008 that could generate approximately 377,000 megawatt-hours of electrical power, enough to power about 37,000 homes for 1 year," according to a report from the USDA Economic Research Service. "The analysis controlled for other factors that affect county-level income and employment. The results primarily reflect the effects of wind turbines in operation, but they also capture construction phase impacts from projects that were under construction in 2008 or came online during the latter half of the study period."


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