Public perceptions of wind energy developments: Case studies from New Zealand
Stephenson, Janet; Graham, Jessica; Smith, Inga
Although the public generally hold positive attitudes towards wind energy, proposals for the construction of new wind farms are often met with strong resistance. In New Zealand, where the government has recently introduced ambitious policy targets for renewable energy generation, negative perceptions of wind farms are increasingly evident and have the potential to prevent the achievement of these targets. This research sets out to examine what influences social resistance to wind farms in New Zealand. Drawing from public submissions on three wind farm proposals, a framework developed by Devine-Wright [Devine-Wright, P., 2005a. Beyond NIMBYism: towards an integrated Framework for Understanding Public Perceptions of Wind Energy. Wind Energy 8, 125–139.] was used as the basis for identification of factors affecting public perceptions of wind farms. The research found firstly that there was no apparent relationship between the proximity of submitters to a proposed wind farm and their likelihood of having a negative perception of the proposal. A wide range of factors written in submissions appeared to have affected the submitter's decision to support or oppose the wind farm proposal. Some of these were consistent with Devine-Wright's findings, but ten further factors were added to the framework to adequately cover the aspects raised in submissions. The findings have implications for the achievement of New Zealand's energy policy aspirations.
Rights Statement: © 2009ElsevierLtd.Allrightsreserved
Keywords: Wind farm; Proximity; Public perception
Research Type: Journal Article