The Determinants of Wind Energy Growth in the United States - new paper published


Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews has just published The Determinants of Wind Energy Growth in the United States: Drivers and Barriers to State-Level Development authored by Dr Kim Schumacher and Zhuoxiang Yang (University of Tokyo).


The focus of this paper is to analyse the determinants of wind energy development in the United States and how procedural and regulatory frameworks influence the deployment of wind power facilities. The findings suggest that contrary to common assumptions, the reduction of environmental regulations is not synonymous with increases in energy development, in this case wind energy.

With recent political efforts to decrease the number of environmental regulations in the U.S. and many parts of the world, this study highlights that the mere number of environmental regulations is not indicative of energy development potential.

The analysis revealed the state-to-state variations in permitting, zoning and siting procedures that wind developers have to clear before being authorised to start project construction, creating a more comprehensive assessment of administrative barriers to wind energy development than prior research studies. Factors such as the ratio of in-state federal lands, population density, wind energy potential, as well as federal statutes and incentives remain the main drivers of wind energy growth.

In contrast to prior studies, the influence of state-level financial initiatives and regulatory measures appeared to be limited. Instead of cutting the number of environmental regulations at the state level, comprehensive streamlining measures and sensible regulatory reforms at the federal level might prove more effective in promoting energy growth while maintaining a strong level of environmental protection. Finally, the authors also point out that future studies should examine the role of the quality of state-level regulations in addition to quantity.

The authors integrated geospatial, macroeconomic and socio-environmental control variables into their empirical analysis to cover the diverse factors influencing wind energy development. Using wind penetration as well as wind capacity additions as dependent variables allowed them to perform a more differentiated analysis of both absolute and relative growth factors.


Schumacher, K. and Yang, Z. (2018) The Determinants of Wind Energy Growth in the United States: Drivers and Barriers to State-Level Development. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 97: 1-13.