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A case-control study of support/opposition to wind turbines: Perceptions of health risk, economic benefits, and community conflict

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  • Baxter, Jamie
  • Morzaria, Rakhee
  • Hirsch, Rachel

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 which 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 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Baxter, Jamie & Morzaria, Rakhee & Hirsch, Rachel, 2013. "A case-control study of support/opposition to wind turbines: Perceptions of health risk, economic benefits, and community conflict," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 931-943.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:61:y:2013:i:c:p:931-943
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.06.050
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    References listed on IDEAS

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