Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Richard Hazlett

Reader 2

Heather Williams

Rights Information

© 2012 William R. Pitkin IV


Due to its high levels of concern and awareness of environmental issues, rural character, and sparse population, Vermont would at first glance appear to possess the ideal recipe to become a national leader in renewable energy development. Renewable initiatives have focused primarily on wind energy, as over a dozen wind farms have been proposed in the last few years across the state. However, in spite of the widely held belief in Vermont’s wind energy future, its proponents have run into vehement opposition at every proposed site, often successfully impeding the planned developments.

This report develops a wide-level framework of the motivations of and complaints presented by wind opposition groups around the state, followed by an analysis of opposition strategies commonly employed. These are contrasted with the tactics used by wind developers and their supporters to remediate or overcome this opposition. Next, this essay will offer a view of the state and local institutional settings in which these battles take place, and finally conclude with a brief analysis of various alternatives to utility-scale wind, offering suggestions for wind’s role in the future of energy in Vermont.