Despite noisy few, public favors wind

“Anti-Wind NIMBYs [Not In My Back Yarders] Are [a] Small Minority,” writes Brian Keane of SmartPower in a recent Huffington Post blog, and he proceeds to back it up with evidence:

– Most compellingly, Mr. Keane cites a recent independent telephone poll of residents living within six miles of a proposed wind project in the United Kingdom, a hotbed of increasingly nasty anti-wind activity since the mid-1990s.  The survey found 66% in favor of the project and 12% against it–not a “silent majority” against the project, not a close call, but overwhelming support.

– Similarly, a recent poll of rural residents in the states of Oregon, Idaho and Washington, where a number of wind farms are already in place, found only extremely strong backing, with fully 80% of those surveyed saying they would support a wind farm within sight of their homes and 50% saying they would “strongly” support it.

There is nothing new about positive polls on wind energy, of course–there have been dozens over the past two decades, with each and every one showing remarkably high levels of support for this clean, affordable, homegrown energy source.  (One of the most recent was conducted by the Financial Times and Harris Interactive.)  What is different about the surveys cited here is the explicit question about a wind farm located near the respondent's residence–I'm not aware of much public opinion research into that question since the early 1980s, well before the wind industry's dramatic expansion of the past 10 years.

Concludes Mr. Keane, “Wind energy will be critical to building America's clean energy economy in the long term. In the short term, it represents one of the best options for communities hoping to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels while still meeting electricity demand. Momentum is gathering behind the movement toward clean energy, including wind. It would be foolish to let this motivation fall victim to anti-wind rhetoric and NIMBYs who keep wishing for the old days.”


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