Public acceptance of wind energy

According to a 2011 Eurobarometer survey, Europeans were more favourable to renewable energy than other energy sources, particularly solar (94%), wind (89%) and hydroelectric (85%). Finland (96%) and Poland (94%) emerged as the top countries most in favour of wind energy.

A 2007 Eurobarometer survey showed that EU citizens demonstrate a positive view of renewable energy projects when asked about their expectations in 30 years' time. Wind, in particular, is acknowledged as a key technology in the future energy mix.

Several EU-funded projects (GP Wind, Reshare) and initiatives (IEA's Wind Task 28) assist with demonstration and dissemination of best practices, collection of current knowledge and promotion of social acceptance of wind farms. Key objectives include delivery of tools, online reports and articles which can be used by the wind sector, policy makers and stakeholders. Recommendations on a cross-country level and interdisciplinary approach will enhance fruitful dialogue, improve the image of wind power and accelerate deployment.

Wind energy delivers a multitude of benefits to communities: It is sustainable and creates local jobs, wealth and economic revival, it helps fight climate change and improves our energy security. What is more, renting out land for wind farms can provide income. Taxes from a wind energy business can be used for social and cultural services in the community, and a wind project might also provide local infrastructure improvements such as roads and electricity transmission lines.

There is no evidence of wind energy projects affecting property prices, and once the farm is built, trends suggest that people who live near a wind farm become more favourable towards wind energy.
Awareness campaigns such as the Global Wind Day help inform Europeans and people around the world about the benefits of wind energy.

EWEA is coordinating the WISE Power project, an IEE funded project which aims at increasing local awareness and participation in the planning process with the aim of reducing social resistance that often results in creating unnecessary obstacles to the deployment of wind energy projects. The project has a strong focus on alternative measures of funding, such as community and cooperative funding of wind farms.

Key texts: