Benefits of Renewable Energy in the West Vary Widely

The West is rich in renewable energy opportunities, but research demonstrates that property tax revenues from this development vary widely across 17 rural study counties due to state tax policies.

  • Previous research on the economic impact of renewable development often focuses on local inputs such as capital, materials, and labor used in each project, but lease payments to private land owners and new tax revenue also should figure prominently.
  • Today, the scale of opportunity from new utility investments is substantial for some rural counties, especially those with small tax bases and high tax rates. In other rural counties, the opportunity is negligible.
  • Good policy options exist to help rural counties prioritize local economic benefits in attracting and supporting new electricity infrastructure.

wind farm

Property Tax Policy Creates a Large Disparity Between Rural Counties

The West is rich in renewable energy opportunities, but our research demonstrates that property tax revenues from this development vary widely across 17 rural study counties.

The manuscript, “Uneven Local Benefits of Renewable Energy in the U.S. West: Property Tax Policy Effects,” provides revenue estimates and policy analysis to explain how and why revenue impacts vary across the rural West.

The goal of this research is to better inform project developers, policymakers, and local and state officials while encouraging discussion of policy approaches that prioritize local economic benefits in attracting and supporting new electricity infrastructure.