Public opinion watch: Danish survey finds neighbours can learn to love wind turbines
This article by Tom Rowe is cross-posted from the European Wind Energy Association blog.
A new Danish survey on people living close to wind turbines shows that four out of five people feel there are no downsides to the experience – and 23 % of those surveyed became more positive towards the turbines within one year of installation. In addition, 59% of respondents answered “neither positive nor negative” to the question of whether their attitude changed over one year of living with the turbines in their midst.
The nationwide analysis, carried out by an independent consultancy, was based on interviews with 1,278 people living within a radius of 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) of a wind turbine that was at least 120 metres (394 feet) tall and had been in operation for a year at minimum. This height meant that these were modern turbines, installed between 2002 and 2011. The people lived close to 125 turbines, spread over 30 different wind projects.
Coordinator of the project Henrik Vinther explained to EWEA that in response to the question “to what degree do you experience disadvantages in living close to a wind turbine”, 81 percent said there were no disadvantages. Only 5 percent said the disadvantages were “high” and 6 percent said “some”. Of those who believed there were disadvantages, the majority of respondents complained about noise, 1 percent about shadow and 1 percent about the effect on their experience of landscape.
Furthermore, in response to the question “generally speaking, how do you experience the presence of the wind turbines?”, 35 percent of people said there were only positives, 43 percent were indifferent, 10 percent said they only experience annoyances and 10 percent said there were both positives and negatives, Henrik told us.
“It is good that this survey has been done, as we know how the neighbours of wind turbines perceive wind turbines on an everyday basis. We are pleased to see that more than 80 percent of respondents were not at all disturbed by wind turbines, but we would like to see a higher figure”, said Jan Hylleberg, CEO of the Danish Wind Industry Association. Denmark recently introduced new noise regulations for wind turbines. The country has the capacity to produce 3.9 GW of wind power, encompassing 4 percent of the EU wind energy market. Wind energy makes up 25.9 percent of total electricity consumption in Denmark--the highest figure in Europe.
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