What is the Public’s Perception of Clean Energy?

How does the general public of Canada perceive clean energy? Are wind turbines considered a nuisance? Do they drive down the value of properties adjacent to wind farms? These are concerns, of course, but what is the perception of this clean form of renewable energy; does the public perceive it to be a viable solution to Canada’s energy needs?

According to a poll conducted by the public opinion and market research group, Abacus Data, it is.

Canadians Favor Clean Energy

The results of the Abacus poll, as related by David Coletto on the Abacus webpage in September of 2013, show a few things. First, it shows that most Canadians are knowledgeable about the different sources of energy; specifically clean energy, used by their country. Secondly, it demonstrates the positive impression that renewable energy has on Canadians.

The Abacus poll posed two questions to Canadians. The first question was, what is the overall impression you have of the different methods Canada uses to generate electricity? The second question was, what is your perception about how your province generates electricity? Canadians, on the whole, have very good impressions of hydroelectric energy, solar and natural gas. When it comes to wind energy, Canadians had a 79% positive impression. Coal and nuclear energy did not fare nearly as well. The Canadians polled had a 12% positive impression of coal and their impression of nuclear energy, although more positive, was still a grim 25%.

The Opposition to Wind Energy

Canadians do seem to be aware of the different sources of clean energy being developed and used in Canada. While the nationwide approval of wind energy is at nearly 80%, that number dips slightly in Ontario where it drops to 70%. The province has been the center for opposition as well. The anti-wind energy organization Wind Watch compiled a list of over 50 groups who are allies in the cause to halt wind farms construction in Ontario.

There are many groups opposed to wind farms for various reasons. Some groups contend that certain projects violate conservation agreements that are in place to protect natural habitats. There are groups who oppose wind farms by arguing that the effects of the noise pollution created by wind turbines can cause harmful stress for those who live near them.

The reality of lowered property values in the areas around wind farms is a legitimate concern, but this holds true for pig, beef and dairy farms as well, but people still want their meat and milk.

The Positives are Greater than the Negatives

However, the benefits that Canada gains from having access to lower cost energy that creates jobs far outweigh the negatives. Canada is moving ahead with increased development of wind energy. The Canadian wind energy industry has set a targeted goal of producing 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2025. Referring back to the Abacus poll, 69% of Canadians also rank wind energy at either first or second as a source of clean energy. The number of poll participants who think wind energy would negatively impact the health and safety of those living near them is only 12%. The numbers show that Canadians are comfortable with wind as a source of renewable clean energy.

photo via: www.studentenergy.org

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