Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-11-2008

Abstract

Worldwide, wind energy generation is growing rapidly as a cleaner and less invasive alternative to traditional fossil-fuel energy sources. Yet, in the United States, the advancement of wind energy has been stunted by three factors: (1) the uncertainty of the federal Production Tax Credit; (2) the lack of transmission lines connecting wind projects to electricity grids; and (3) enduring local cultural and aesthetic objections to wind turbines. Frustrated with the imbalanced allocation of costs and benefits imposed by most wind energy projects, some individuals and municipalities have deployed zoning laws, nuisance claims, or environmentalist arguments to discourage wind energy development in their area. “Community wind” is a model of wind energy generation that improves residents’ perception of turbines by using local ownership, services and utility grids to concentrate the economic benefits of wind power in the communities that produce it.

This paper sets forth a proposal for applying the community wind model in a suburban context, through the mechanism of the homeowner’s association (HOA). HOAs are uniquely situated to implement community wind to lower their energy costs, provide affordable housing, enhance local schools, and shift Americans’ perception of wind farms in a more positive direction.