What Do We Really Know? A Meta-Analysis of Studies Into Public Responses to Wind Energy

Ian D. Bishop
University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Ladda ner artikelhttp://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ecp110574161

Ingår i: World Renewable Energy Congress - Sweden; 8-13 May; 2011; Linköping; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 57:15, s. 4161-4168

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Publicerad: 2011-11-03

ISBN: 978-91-7393-070-3

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


There have now been many studies about the public response to wind energy infrastructure. This includes at least 31 papers already published in 2010. There remains however a large gap between the knowledge required for effective planning and the agreed understanding of visual and other impact levels; and the influence of planning and communication processes There is only limited agreement on some basic impact variables: numbers of turbines; amelioration with distance; role of design and so forth. There is no consensus on what methods should be used to assess acceptability or to design for acceptable outcomes. This means that; in many countries; there is no societal consensus about the acceptability of wide spread deployment of wind energy systems. This paper reviews recent studies in environmental; especially visual; impact and other aspects of the process that shape public response. These deal with issues and measures including both local and regional impacts; willingness-to-pay; validity of visual simulations and the use of virtual environments in design. The response of any individual and; cumulatively; of the community is a combination of affective and cognitive factors. Both are complex in character. Affective response involves primarily aesthetic appreciation but may be influenced by deep-seated philosophical attitudes to renewable energy in the context of global environmental issues. Cognitive responses overlay with the affective response in relation to global issues but also draw heavily on local factors of noise concerns; tourism effects and health issues. Cognitive responses are also dependent on personal circumstance and experiences and perceptions of the reasonableness of the planning process. These different aspects may be applied independently to infrastructure design; planning and evaluation but are often combined inappropriately in multi-factorial studies. A diversity of approaches in the literature are analyzed for their capacity to contribute to effective discrimination of the factors behind public responses to wind farm developments; to agreement on the key elements affecting local responses; and preferred approaches to planning and design. A combination of such meta-analysis and computational innovation in mapping and visualisation may provide the opportunity for integration of these advances in knowledge such that a systematic; objective; comprehensive and acceptable approach to wind energy infrastructure planning and design is feasible and achievable.


Wind energy; Visual impact; Affective response; Cognitive response


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