THISTLE TAGUE, Noel
Fall 2022, 52.5 pages: 464-478
The View from Here: Phantasmatic Turbines and the Controversy of Industrial Wind Development
Industrial wind development—resulting in what we call wind farms—generates civic controversy and social strife in rural host communities across the United States. This essay examines one such controversy in northern New York State, utilizing Aristotle’s concept of phantasia to explore how the wind industry and pro-wind individuals construct arguments in support of development in complementary and divergent ways. An analysis of wind industry promotional media alongside interviews with three pro-wind residents follows. Ultimately, this essay argues that while the industry circulates visions of wind energy as green, clean, and future-oriented, individuals’ feelings are more complex, as they associate wind development in their hometowns with deeply personal hopes, desires, and hardships. Although their idiosyncratic visions of wind development rarely find expression in the public record, phantasmatic wind turbines continue to incite strong emotions long after the conclusion of public debate about development, leaving a lasting impact on rural civic life.