Geography Publications

Title

A Case-Control Study of Support/Opposition to Wind Turbines: The Roles of Health Risk Perception, Economic Benefits, and Community Conflict

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2013

Journal

Energy Policy

Volume

61

First Page

931

Last Page

943

URL with Digital Object Identifier

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.06.050

Abstract

Despite considerable quantitative case study research on communities living with turbines, few have studied the roles played by the perceptions of: health risk, economic benefits/fairness, and intra-community conflict. We report the findings from a case-control survey which compares residents living with/without turbines in their community to understand the relative importance of these variables as predictors of turbine support. Ontario is the context for this study as it is a place where the pace of turbine installations is both very high and extremely politicized. As expected 69% of residents in the case community would vote in favour of local turbines yet surprisingly, only 25% would do so in the control community. Though the literature suggests that aesthetic preferences best predict turbine support the key predictors in this study are: health risk perception, community benefits, general community enhancement, and a preference for turbine-generated electricity. Concern about intra-community conflict is high in both the case (83%) and control (85%) communities as is concern about the fairness of local economic benefits (56% and 62%, respectively); yet neither is significant in the models. We discuss the implications of these findings particularly in terms of the consequences of a technocratic decide-announce-defend model of renewable facility siting.

Notes

doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.06.050

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421513005351

Energy Policy

Volume 61, October 2013, Pages 931–943