Greer Muldowney

likes photography

Urban Turbines 2012–2016

For the past several years I have been photographing the emergence of wind turbines throughout the New England landscape. The resulting series of photographs, titled Urban Turbines, depict cliché images of the built landscape and architecture of this region with these new, abrupt structures. From public schools integrating turbines into their campuses and their science curriculum to coal burning energy plants erecting a structure from the most visible point on their property, turbines have become a complex new symbol of a progressive future.

The New England region of the United States is historically progressive, energy poor and densely populated along its coast. The region has recently experienced a building boom in green energy, specifically turbines placed very close to inhabited areas. The policies that surround this boom are fortified in tax breaks and federal and state grant incentives. This is bolstering public works to upgrade infrastructure and create educational facilities in green energy, but also encouraging developers to capitalize on the financial opportunities. These incentives are taking priority over land use concerns and urban planning. Ultimately, the turbine industry that has popped up in New England is not entirely based on the traditional model of sustainable wind farms found in the West, but instead individual and small clusters of turbines cropping up where opportunity of market, as well as good PR occur - opportunities that may pay off more in tax incentives to developers than useable energy in the grid. Urban Turbines illustrates how these structures have encroached on the landscape of coastal New England.