By Tuuliki Kasonen, General Manager of Estonian Wind Power Association
According to a survey carried out by the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, Estonians consider wind power and biomass to be the best energy sources due to their economic, environmental and energy security benefits. 95% of the respondents considered wind power and 81% biomass as the most environmentally friendly way to produce energy.
The majority of the respondents found that the most important aspect of generating energy is environmental friendliness, followed by low cost and energy independence.
Nuclear power scored the lowest in all categories, except for the energy security category in which natural gas was considered to be the worst. Moreover, today’s main energy source in Estonia – shale oil – did not find supporters among respondents, although respondents thought shale oil slightly better than gas when it comes to energy security, but worse than wind power and biomass.
Such a high positive opinion of wind energy came as a pleasant surprise to the people working in the wind industry. We are used to dealing with anti-wind lobbyists who sometimes gain enormous space in the media – this media coverage might easily lead to a misconception that wind energy is not wanted by the public. This misconception was refuted in Global Wind Day 2012 celebrations this year when close to two thousand people showed up at Estonia’s first wind farm in Virtsu for a great concert. Both local and super stars of Estonia performed and were accompanied by kite surfers on the sea and graceful wind turbines just next to the stage.
The event was widely covered by the media and couple of video clips were also made. In one of them people were asked what they think of wind turbines and it was exciting to see how people who have lived nearby them for 10 years consider the turbines as a natural part of the landscape. For those who did not know much about wind energy the Global Wind Day concert at the wind farm was the perfect opportunity to see the turbines up close. One of the kite surfers stopped for a moment before going to the sea, listened to the turbines and asked the organisers: “So where is this noise they are all talking about?”