The deployment of wind turbines: Factors which create accepting attitudes in local communities

Sian, Manpreet
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University of Guelph

Wind turbines have been a popular choice for renewable energy since the recognition of the environmental and economic threats that have been posed by climate change in the early 20th century (Merkley, 2013). Wind turbines transfer the wind's kinetic energy into mechanical energy. The mechanical energy is then converted into electrical energy, and is transferred to a power grid. Due to the structural design, wind turbines are only efficient in regions of high wind strengths and are primarily deployed in large clear landscapes. Many European countries have displayed a moderate to strong public support for the implementation of wind turbines in their landscapes. Despite the high level of support for this type of technology in principle, many wind turbine development projects in many countries around Europe have been delayed or rejected due to local opposition. Many individuals are concerned with the potential health, environmental, and aesthetic impacts. Local citizens, developing companies and empowered political figures, all have their own understandings of the effects of the existing, as well as the future developments of wind turbines in their countries. The purpose of this paper is to examine what factors create accepting attitudes towards the development of wind turbines in local communities in France and Germany. These factors will then be used to assess a Canadian case to suggest that similar factors are influential in the Canadian context.

wind turbines, renewable energy, local communities, accepting attitudes, health impacts, environmental impacts, aesthetic impacts