Localized Distributional Injustice: Wind Energy Siting in the Continental United States

J. Tom Mueller , Pennsylvania State University
Matthew Brooks, Pennsylvania State University

The distribution of the burdens of energy development, relative to the benefits, is a primary concern of sustainable energy development. Thus, energy justice has become a key framework for understanding these concerns. In this paper, we evaluate the current landscape of wind energy development in the continental United States as it relates to energy justice. Through the use of logistic regression and fixed effects we evaluate the social factors currently associated with existing wind energy infrastructure at three spatial scales: the nation, the state, and the county. We find little evidence of distributional injustice related to wind energy at the national or state level. However, when considering census tracts within counties, three variables suggest localized distributional injustice. We find that wind energy is more likely to be sited in areas with lower education, fewer people in the labor force, and lower population density.

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 Presented in Session 3. Population, Development, & the Environment; Data & Methods; Applied Demography