57 per cent of respondents felt “positive” or “very positive” about wind turbines located near their homes.  Creative Commons photo by Samir Luther.

Over 1.3 million US homes located near wind turbines

A study led by researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that more than 9 people out of 10 who live near wind turbines approve of the projects.

92 per cent of respondents living in over 1.3 million US homes located within five miles of a large wind turbine said they viewed wind turbines either positively or neutrally.

The Berkeley Lab study was undertaken to help understand how US communities are reacting to the deployment of wind turbines.  The work will provide valuable information to developers of wind projects.

Prior to construction of wind projects, nearby local authorities, citizens, landowners and businesses can be divided over proposed wind projects.

In its blog post released on Jan. 30, the American Wind Energy Association says “knowing that other communities with existing projects feel good about their choices can give reassurance to prospective wind farm hosts”.

According to the study, 57 per cent of the 1,674 respondents say they felt either “positive” or “very positive” about their local wind project.  The study also reported that the majority of residents living within 1/2 mile of wind turbines viewed them positively.

The Berkeley Lab survey showed that almost five times as many people had a positive or very positive attitude concerning nearby wind projects than negative or very negative.

In a 2006 interview with FarmProgress.com, Tom Watne, a farmer in Blairsburg, Iowa said “I thought the towers would be more irritable to your sight. But now, they seem stately, quite pretty even”.

By the end of 2016, the approximately 60,000 utility-scale wind turbines in the United States could supply about 6.2 per cent of the nation’s electricity demand.  The cost of wind energy projects is expected to decline, which will likely spur more development of wind farms.