Rural communities say yes to wind farms

Posted on January 17, 2012 by

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Media release from Pacific Hydro, January 17th 2011

Pacific Hydro has today released the results of its latest community polling, which indicates overwhelming support for the construction of wind farms.

The telephone survey, conducted by independent research company QDos, interviewed residents in ten wind farm communities across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. The interviews were undertaken in November 2011 in areas where wind farms are already in existence or under development.

“We were especially interested to hear what local communities living close to existing and proposed wind farms had to say,” said Mr Lane Crockett, General Manager Australia.

“We are keen to get a true picture of the support for wind farms in regional Australia and that is why we did not survey city dwellers as they are not the people that are living nearby.” said Mr Crockett.

The level of support for wind farms was 83% overall with just 14% opposed to their development. While there is overwhelming support across all regions, support was higher in Victoria and South Australia than in selected NSW regions.

The results confirm that the majority of regional Australians support wind generation and continue to have positive attitudes towards wind farms in their local communities. It also confirms that wind energy is overwhelmingly more popular than non-renewable forms of energy.

Just over a quarter of people supported building a new coal fired power plant while a clear majority of 65% of residents were opposed.

“We have an obligation to our children’s future to create less pollution and the community recognises that wind energy is a great way to shift from polluting energy sources to clean, green, renewable energy,” said Mr Crockett.

“Wind energy is the most cost-effective renewable energy source in Australia and is a way to create additional investment and jobs in regional areas, so it is pleasing that the community acknowledges this through high levels of support,” said Mr Crockett.

“There has been significant debate and media coverage on the effects of wind farms on health, wildlife and amenity,” said Mr Crockett.

“However, this recent poll shows that there continues to be overwhelming support for wind farms and the recent negative messaging and constant attacks by some in the community does not appear to be altering public opinion too much,” said Mr Crockett.

The perceived impacts of wind farms causing some level of concern are the depreciation of property values (5 in 10), the effect on visual amenity (4 in10) and noise (4 in10). Of a much lower order concern for survey participants were the perceived health problems (only 1 in 10), despite the media focus on this issue.

“It is clear from these results that people in regional Australia are drawing their own conclusions on wind energy and they are that they understand the benefits and want to see more of it”.

“The results of this poll should serve as a clear message to politicians and policy developers in all three states that most people like wind power”, Mr Crockett concluded.

Cape Bridgewater wind farm

Pacific Hydro's Cape Bridgewater wind farm