An Analysis of Offshore Wind Development: A Non-market, Stated-Preference Approach to Measure Community Perceptions and Opinions and Estimate Willingness to Pay in Two Michigan Regions

Client Organization: 
Great Lakes Wind Collaborative
Project Location : 
Ann Arbor, MI and two research locations
Secondary Client Organization: 
Citizens Greener Evanston
Summary of Project Idea: 

What opinions or underlying factors are indicative of support or opposition for offshore wind farm development?  This contingent valuation method (CVM) case study was conducted to understand the socioeconomic dimensions of opinions regarding offshore wind development near Lake Michigan and estimate willingness to pay (WTP) in tow regions: 1) Evanston, Rogers Park, and Wilmette, Illinois (n=208) and 2) Mason and Oceana Counties, Michigan (n=122).  Data was collected via online surveys after mailing invitations to systematic samples that received 6% and 12% response rates for Illinois and Michigan communities, respectively.  Respondents were presented with three WindPro visual simulations of a 400MW wind farm at three, six and ten miles from each region's respective coast along with one hypothetical (positive or negative) monthly electric price impact and then asked to vote 'for' or 'against' each scenario.  Initial probit models  results indicate that variables for monthly increase/decrease in utility bill price, offshore wind farm siting distance, and liberal political ideology are statistically significant in determining the probability of voting yes fora proposed offshore wind farm scenario.  Mean WTP calculations indicate a negative WTP for a wind farm sited 3 and 6 miles offshore and a positive WTP for 10 mile offshore distance for the average respondent.  These results could provide valuable insight on offshore wind development opinions in coastal communities both with and without prior exposure to formalized development proposals. 

SEAS Program Areas: 
Environmental Policy and Planning
Sustainable Systems
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Jared Kelly and Craig Landry
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Yiting Li, MS Sustainable Systems
  • Lauren Knapp, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Yufeng Ma, MS Sustainable Systems
  • Matt Rife, MS Sustainable Systems/Environmental Policy and Planning
Project Status: 
Past Project