Case-control study of support/opposition to wind turbines: Perceptions of health risk, economic benefits, and community conflict
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 that 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 the 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.
Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London
Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto
Energy Policy, available online 10 July 2013
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