chapter  7
20 Pages

Socioeconomic Impacts of Wind Farm Development: A Case Study of Weatherford, Oklahoma

The use of wind as an energy source in Oklahoma has a long history [1]. For example, wind energy was used by early settlers and farmers in Western Oklahoma to power well pumps. The early settlers were able to use these pumps to irrigate and make farming possible in areas where climate may have otherwise prohibited it. Similarly, today’s society could choose to continue to use fossil fuels, which have significant harmful effects [2], or could choose to create a diversified energy portfolio [3]. Schiermeier et al. in 2008 [4] illustrate the potential mechanisms and impacts of ‘electricity without carbon’, as utilities and policymakers move toward a low carbon economy. Nationally, there have been increasing efforts to promote renewable energy as a response to the awareness of the limited supply of fossil fuels, to meet the growing energy demand, and to reduce the harmful environmental impact of fossil fuel use. Organizations such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the American Wind Energy Association,

and others have been researching and promoting renewable energy in the USA. State and local governments as well as the federal government have realized that not only can renewable energy be a way to meet future energy demands but it could also promote economic growth in rural communities. Some of these rural communities have experienced job losses and declining population in recent years [5].