State and local economic impacts from wind energy projects: Texas case study
This paper uses the Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model to estimate economic impacts from 1398 MW of wind power development in four counties in west Texas. Project-specific impacts are estimated at the local level (i.e., within a 100-mile radius around the wind farms) and at the state level. The primary economic policy question addressed is how investment in wind energy affects the state and local communities where the wind farms are built. During the four-year construction phase approximately 4100 FTE (full time equivalents) jobs were supported with turbine and supply chain impacts accounting for 58% of all jobs generated. Total lifetime economic activity to the state from the projects equated to more than $1.8 billion, or $1.3 million per MW of installed capacity. The total economic activity to the local communities was also substantial, equating to nearly $730 million over the assumed 20-year life cycle of the farms, or $0.52 million per MW of installed capacity. Given the current level of impacts observed, and the potential for increased impacts via greater utilization of instate manufacturing capacity and the development of trained wind industry specific laborers, Texas appears to be well positioned to see increasing impacts from continued wind development.