Tourist Viewshed Externalities and Wind Energy Production
This study uses an experiment where ferry passengers are sold hotel room “views” to evaluate the impact of wind turbines views on tourists’ vacation experience. Participants purchase a chance for a weekend hotel stay. Information about the hotel rooms was limited to the quality of the hotel and its distance from a large wind turbine, as well as whether or not a particular room would have a view of the turbine. While there was generally a negative effect of turbine views, this did not hold across all participants, and did not seem to be effected by distance or hotel quality.
Placement of wind turbines has prompted public concerns related to their effects on wildlife and scenic views. This has been especially relevant in coastal areas, where the proposed development of large offshore wind energy facilities in states including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and Oregon have been seen as a potential threat to the tourism industry. The response from the tourism industry has delayed or even blocked development of offshore wind facilities in some of these states.