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Elizabeth J. Wilson: Wind Power: The Relationship between Stakeholder Perceptions and Technology Deployment
published date:2013-07-11

Speaker:Elizabeth J. Wilson

Time:3nd Dec, 2009   1:00 – 2:30pm
Location:Room 301, Old Geology Building


As national U.S. attention focuses reducing greenhouse gas emissions, low-carbon technologies — such as wind power — encounter both opportunities and barriers en route to deployment. This paper provides a state-level context for examining wind power deployment and presents research on how policy interveners perceive wind energy in four states: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, and Texas. Through semi-structured interviews, interveners in state-level energy policy were asked to explain their perceptions of wind energy technology within their unique state context. Their responses were then coded into specific frames to better understand how various drivers promote or hinder the deployment of wind energy in state-specific contexts. Across all of the states, responses were dominated by the technical, political, and economic frames, with the environmental, aesthetic, and health/safety frames appearing less often in the intervener discourse. In examining the specific responses however, we find that each state arrived at their current level of deployment via very different political, economic, and technical paths. In addition to helping explain why and how wind technology was—or was not—deployed in each of the case study states, these findings provide insight into the different sub-national dialogues on deployment of low-carbon technologies.

Speaker bio:
Dr. Elizabeth J. Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy and Law at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. She was recently named a McKnight Land-Grant Professor for 2008-2010 and is spending the 2009-2010 academic year as a visiting professor at Tsinghua University. Her research examines policies and institutions that support the development of carbon-managed energy systems. Her current NSF-sponsored project examines how different U.S. states view emerging energy technologies.  Recent work sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with the CCSReg project aims to better develop the regulatory and legal framework for deploying carbon capture and sequestration technologies. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota she worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and before that Wilson worked in Belgium, Burundi and Tanzania. She holds a doctorate in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and masters in Human Ecology from the Free University of Brussels in Belgium.