The wind energy debate represents a new kind of environmental controversy which divides environmentalists of different persuasions who attach contrasting priority to global and local concerns. Case studies of public attitudes towards existing and proposed windfarm developments in Scotland and Ireland are used to test three counter-intuitive hypotheses derived from previous attitudinal research.
Editor's Note: This study was conducted in collaboration with the Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen. The Institute's commercial arm, Macaulay Enterprises, acts as a consultant for the renewables industry, and is linked to the Scottish Renewables Forum and the British Wind Energy Association.
The pro-wind pre-disposition of the authors is evident and should not be ignored when evaluating survey results. Survey respondents generally expressed support of wind energy based on the belief that it was a solution for global warming. Given wind energy's limited effectiveness in reducing greenhouse gases based on today’s studies, we question how survey participants might respond if contacted again. The report also comments that communities selected had no organized opposition to the wind facilities. Today, throughout England, Wales and Scotland, organized opposition is the norm, not the exception.