Classic wind project support dilemma: like it, won’t pay for it

The Saint ReportEnergy, Environmental Planning, Planning and Zoning, Property Development, saintblog, Wind PowerLeave a Comment

North American WindPower recently reported that a poll by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Policy Analysis found that while Massachusetts electric ratepayers generally support wind energy, this support erodes rapidly if wind projects contribute to an increase in electric bills. The poll found that 55% of respondents would not pay more for electricity produced by wind turbines. Click here for full story
Jay Vincent, senior vice president for energy, The Saint Consulting Group, writes:
Although I haven’t dug into the grainy details of this poll, its release and statement raise a consistent issue with regard to siting offshore wind projects, particularly in this economy – what is the general public willing to accept that impacts them personally (in this case financially with modestly higher electricity bills) from a project that they support philosophically?
In the field where Saint Consulting project directors work on stakeholder acceptance and organizing  grassroots support for various development projects, we see this all the time, including offshore wind.  Arms length polling and surveys suggests high support for a land use, only to see that support dwindle when something is proposed in their backyard, or in this case in their back pocket.
Of course those public attitudes translate into political action for or against a candidate for office who may have a vote on these types of projects. That raises the importance of making sure the public understands all the benefits of the project to thier bottom line and local community and then communicates support to decision-makers.
Jay Vincent is senior vice president for energy, The Saint Consulting Group, email phone 312.970.5770 Ext: 7502

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