Economic Benefits of C-BEDIn September, 2004, the General Accounting Office published a report titled Wind Power’s Contribution to Electric Power Generation and Impact on Farms and Rural Communities (2.7 MB). In an appendix to the report, the GAO describes a model that was created to assess the impact of wind power investments on employment and economic output at the state and local levels. Eleven counties in five states were reviewed.
The charts below describe the results of the model. Employment and income impacts are considerably greater for projects that are locally owned than for projects that are owned by out-of-area firms. The report states that "a single 40 MW project built in Pipestone County, Minnesota would generate about $650,000 in new income for the county annually. In contrast, 20 locally owned projects that are 2 MW each (40 MW total) would generate about $3.3 million annually in the same county." (p.80) The graphic representation of that result can be seen in the appropriate column in the first chart, titled "Economic Benefits". The charts also illustrate graphically the consistency of the accrued economic benefits in all geographic areas.
Overall, the study showed that for the locations sampled, local ownership would result in an average of 2.3 times as many jobs and 3.1 times as much economic benefit.