Scots Overwhelmingly Support Growth of Wind Farms

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More than three-quarters of all Scots support the development of wind farms, according to a new opinion poll commissioned by industry body Scottish Renewables.

78 per cent of those surveyed agreed that ‘wind farms are necessary so that we can produce renewable energy to help us meet current and future energy needs in Scotland’ – up from the 73 per cent support for this statement five years ago.

The YouGov poll also revealed that over half (52%) of Scots disagree that wind farms are an ‘ugly and a blot on the landscape’, with a 6 per cent decline in those agreeing with this statement since 2005 (28% in 2005 compared to 22% in 2010).  Furthermore 59 per cent of those polled agree that wind farms are necessary so that we can produce renewable energy, what they look like is unimportant.

The results were published by Scottish Renewables as the organisation released its latest policy paper, supported by RenewableUK, which outlines key actions from government if the onshore wind is to play its full part in meeting ambitious new government targets for renewables.

Commenting on the poll results, Rosie Vetter, Onshore Wind Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said:

“This shows that the majority of people in Scotland support the development of wind power, despite the frequent attacks by a vocal minority of opponents.

“The majority of people clearly understand the need for more renewable energy as part of the answer to the question of how we tackle climate change and see the social, economic and environmental benefits from clean generation of electricity here in Scotland.

“These results show the general public in Scotland are well aware of the benefits clean energy such as renewables can bring. The increase in support for wind energy comes from the fact that this industry is now recognised as playing an important part in Scotland’s economic recovery with new jobs, investment and manufacturing. The growth in construction of wind farms has also helped the public understand the reality of renewable energy and eliminate many of the myths surrounding this technology.

“The industry has grown massively over the last five years, but despite the greater number of wind farms across the country, people are more positive about wind than ever before.”

Scottish Renewables’ ‘Driving the Low Carbon Economy: Onshore Wind’ policy paper highlights the need for better regulation, improved grid access and stable financial incentives if the industry is to meet its ambitions for the future and power progress towards the Scottish Government’s new target of 80 per cent of electricity consumed in Scotland to come from renewables by 2020.

Ms Vettor added:

“Responsibility for much of the progress towards Scotland’s new renewables targets rests on the shoulders of the onshore wind sector. For those reasons, it is crucial that government ensures a speedy and efficient planning system, grid connections to transport power at a competitive price and certainty over long term support for the sector.

“Although a bright future lies ahead for offshore wind, wave and tidal power, the bulk of generation offshore is unlikely to really take off until towards the end of this decade. Continued growth of hydropower and bioenergy will make up an important but relatively small proportion of the growth in renewable generation.

“This means that onshore wind will need to sustain continued growth, delivering the bulk of generation required to meet Scottish and UK renewable electricity targets, and put Scotland on a sustainable path to making significant reductions in carbon emissions.”

Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK Director of Policy, said:

“Poll after poll has shown that support for renewable energy and wind energy in particular in the UK is overwhelming. The public recognises the benefits stemming from wind energy and there is a keen sense of pride in the fact that we are now world leaders in offshore wind. This latest research should encourage policy makers to further encourage deployment of wind farms by streamlining planning and incentivising take up at local level.”

Notes:
1. All figures based upon YouGov Plc online poll fieldwork conducted between 31 August – 2 September 2010 with a representative sample size of 1001 Scottish adults (aged 18+) and GfK NOP telephone survey of 1000 Scottish residents conducted between 4-17 November 2005:

Survey:
Wind farms are necessary so that we can produce renewable energy, what they look like is unimportant

Opinion 2010 (%) 2005 (%) Variance (%)
Agree 59 56 3
Disagree 23 21 2
Neither 18 23 -5

Wind farms are necessary so that we can produce renewable energy to help us meet current and future energy needs in Scotland

Opinion 2010 (%) 2005 (%) Variance (%)
Agree 78 73 5
Disagree 11 11 0
Neither 11 14 -3

Wind farms are, or would be, ugly and a blot on the landscape

Opinion 2010 (%) 2005 (%) Variance (%)
Agree 23 28 -5
Disagree 52 50 2
Neither 26 22 4