Rick Harbison

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Community Planning and Development (CPD)


Community Planning and Development

First Advisor

Dr Charlie Colgan


Wind Farms, Community Wind, Muskie School of Public Service


In recent decades, wind power has emerged as one of the fastest-growing sources of energy in the United States. By the end of 2011, 46,919 megawatts (MW) of wind power had been installed across the country.1 A number of factors have driven this growth, chief among them are: technological innovation, increasing public support for renewable energy, and state and federal policies that encourage wind development.

While the predominant model for wind development in the United States—and Maine—has been large-scale commercial wind farms, a small but growing sector of wind development, known as “community wind,” is beginning to gain a foothold. Community wind is a development model that emphasizes local ownership of wind energy projects. Under this model, projects can vary widely in size and ownership structure, but the common thread is some form of local leadership and ownership stake in the project.