Off-campus South Dakota State University users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your South Dakota State University ID and password.

Non-South Dakota State University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Jeffrey Jacquet


Attitudes towards wind energy development are influenced by a number of factors, yet the political and geographic context of these attitude formations are not fully understood. The role of met or unmet expectations is not well researched in explaining attitudes towards energy development or wind energy in particular. This study explores the relationship between resident attitudes, values, and expectations for two comparative wind energy projects in South Dakota. In Hand County, SD, the Titan Wind Project was projected to be one of the nation’s largest, but development has stopped after the first phase of 10 turbines was constructed in 2009. Conversely, the Highmore Energy Center in nearby Hyde County, SD is touted as South Dakota’s first successful wind project with 27 fully operational turbines constructed in 2003. A survey (n=239) administered in early 2014 across both development locations investigates the process of attitude and expectation formation and change towards the projects as they developed. The results do not show major differences in expectations between the two projects, but do demonstrate how economic and environmental attitudes and values influence wind energy attitudes and expectations. While political ecology would suggest that the geopolitical boundaries of county lines that affect tax payments are important in wind energy attitudes, no such finding was recorded in this study. Implications for future research and for the siting of wind farms in rural areas are discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wind power plants -- South Dakota -- Public opinion Wind power plants -- Environmental aspects
Wind power plants -- Social aspects
Wind power plants -- Economic aspect


Includes bibliographical references (pages 55-58)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted