The Energy Office of Michigan asked Lawrence Technological University (LTU) to conduct Delphi Inquires into wind turbine noise and wildlife issues. These inquiries collected and analyzed stakeholders’ perceptions of how to address turbine noise and potential wildlife impacts in the Michigan Siting Guidelines for Wind Energy Systems. This paper uses Beierle and Cayford's conceptual framework for evaluating the success of public participation to compare the two inquiries.
Beierle and Cayford's framework identifies five social goals for public participation in policy development: incorporating public values into decisions, improving the substantive quality of decisions, resolving conflict among competing interests, building trust in institutions, and educating and informing the public. The framework also identifies several process elements that contribute to the success of meeting those goals.
This paper examines how the participants’ prior experience with each issue influenced two important elements of the participation process: the participants’ ability to engage in meaningful discourse and their ability to exert control over the process. This paper examines how some participants’ inexperience prevented them from effectively participating in the process of developing wind energy policy; demonstrating that it can be more productive to seek input primarily from technical experts than to seek consensus from all stakeholders.