Wind energy development is booming worldwide with Germany and the United States being forerunners in installed capacity. Based on a review of relevant laws and regulations, policy, siting, and permitting documents, academic literature, and expert interviews, the paper compares the permit and environmental impact assessment (IA) policies and regulations pertaining to wind energy projects in both countries. The focus is on the potential of IAs in supporting an environmentally conscious development of wind power generation. This includes the analysis of IA regulations on the project level, strategic level impact assessment and planning processes, opportunities for public involvement and transparency of processes, and the clarity and predictability of the IA provisions. The findings suggest certain variations between both countries’ permit and IA processes for wind energy projects and further research needs, inter alia on the actual effects of strategic assessment of wind development on subsequent permitting.