A new Danish survey on people living close to wind turbines shows that four out of five people feel there are no downsides to the experience – and 23 % of those surveyed became more positive towards the turbines within one year of installation. In addition, 59% of respondents answered “neither positive nor negative” to the question of whether their attitude changed over one year of living with the turbines in their midst.
The nationwide analysis, carried out by an independent consultancy, was based on interviews with 1,278 people living within a radius of 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) of a wind turbine that was at least 120 metres (394 feet) tall and had been in operation for a year at minimum. This height meant that these were modern turbines, installed between 2002 and 2011. The people lived close to 125 turbines, spread over 30 different wind projects.
By Fiona Woo, World Future Council
Winds of 60 km per hour hit us as soon as we alighted from the bus at Hvide Sande – “White Sand” – on the west coast of Denmark, home to a community-owned wind energy project comprising three 3MW turbines. All that could be heard was the powerful wind: the generators cannot be heard over the considerable sound of the wind.
I was joined by 40 policy makers and experts from 15 European countries as part of a workshop on 100% Renewable Energy in European Regions, organised by the World Future Council and the Climate Service Center at the Nordic Folkecenter, Denmark. The region serves as a living example of 100% renewable energy already in action. Wind plays a big role in this area of Europe: 87% of the country’s electricity consumption that day was covered by wind power, and, in Denmark as a whole, €16 million from local residents is being invested in renewable energies.
Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action
Denmark is synonymous with wind energy. Last year the Nordic country met a massive 26% of its electricity demand with wind power, confirming its pole position as a beacon for wind energy as well as for its ability to integrate renewable electricity into the grid.
Already a world wind energy leader, Denmark plans to do better: by 2020 it wants wind energy to occupy a 50% slice of its electricity generation as part of its plans to phase out fossil fuels by 2050. With this target, set by the Danish centre-left coalition government last year, and a second target to deepen carbon dioxide cuts to 40% by 2020 – the country is a blueprint for transitioning to a renewable, climate-friendly, fuel-independent economy.
Do you want to know more about what makes wind energy work and what the future holds for the sector? Then perhaps you should join the thousands of wind power enthusiasts who will be descending on Copenhagen this weekend for the EWEA 2012 Annual Event.
For more information on how you can visit the exhibition or attend the conference sessions, from as little as €50, check out the website.
Wind power will provide 50% of Denmark’s electricity in 2020, the new Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has said – a level which would beat EWEA’s prediction of up to 47.4%.
Denmark’s EU renewable energy target is to source 31% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, and the increasingly wind-powered country is already close to meeting that target. At the end of last year, Denmark had a wind energy capacity of 3,752 MW – enough to source 25% of its electricity from wind energy.