• Do the Public Support Onshore Windfarms?

Portable/Field Testing

Do the Public Support Onshore Windfarms?

Oct 17 2016

2016 has been a big year for energy in the UK. Cuadrilla won its appeal against Lancashire Country Council, with the Conservative government voting to allow fracking in the area – despite the vast majority of Britons being firmly against it. Meanwhile, they have blocked onshore windfarms. But how does this line up with public opinion?

Blocked proposals

Why wouldn’t you like windfarms? They’re a source of green energy, after all. Surely public support is high… But actually, there are a number of reasons people oppose the method of harnessing wind energy. One reason, which is likely to be the reason it’s been blocked by the government, is that it requires a chunk of investment to manufacture and install the turbines beforehand.

Relating to this, there are uncertainties as to whether the turbines can provide short term cost-efficiency. There isn’t an effective and proven method of storing the energy, so wind turbines are capped as to how much energy they can generate.

Location, location, location

But the main issue in most cases – as with fracking – is the location. On land, wind farms cause noise pollution, which is a disturbance for nearby homes. They’re also considered a bit of an eye sore for some people, especially in areas that were previously untouched, scenic countryside.

On top of that, their construction can damage habitats somewhat and when they’re completed they are a potential threat to birds. Offshore wind farms solve some of these problems, but because of its greater complexity to construct, its costs are much higher.

So how do the Brits feel?

Despite these difficulties, the British public are largely in support of onshore wind farms. According to a ComRes poll for energy charity 10:10, 73% said they are in favour of it. Even for people living in rural areas, where the wind farms would be constructed, the support was a convincing 65%.

And in Scotland, where onshore wind is most common, the support stands at 80%. Yet when asked, only 11% of supporters thought they were in the majority. People support onshore wind farms, but think they’re on their own in doing so.

An energy revolution

There are clearly changes afoot, and the public are in full support. Britain, and other countries, need to embrace the possibilities of renewable energy. The technology is there; it just needs to be used – the sooner the better. ‘Thriving in the Renewable Energy Economy’ looks at some of the beneficial opportunities available for big players in the energy industry.

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