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That in the UK seems to be very much the case, but I wonder (i) is it the same elsewhere? and (ii) are any other reasons (more "rational")?
by cagatacos on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 09:11:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the same in Sweden. No one likes the windmills, except people who live far from them. The solution for us is that someone figured out that Sweden is a sparsely populated country mostly covered in deep forests, where the population density is even lower. So you add 20 metres to the height of the turbines and put them in the forests, where they cannot be seen except from a pretty short distance.

And lo and behold, Swedish forests are owned mostly by massive corporations (google SCA + Statkraft) and cooperatives, so it's easy for the power companies to make deals with them.  

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 11:00:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the case in rural France.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 12:08:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"More rational" reasons : as I say, concerns about the environmental impact of industrial structures in previously untouched areas (woods and hills), concern about previously unspoiled landscapes. These may shade into NIMBYism, but not necessarily.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 12:11:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm. There are no "previously untouched areas" in France or the UK. They have been fashioned by human stewardship for thousands of years.

In previous centuries, people had a more pragmatic approach to unsightly windmills. They knew they needed the energy. These days, we have our priorities wrong.

That's not to say that all potential wind sites should be used indiscriminately. Actual nuisance should be reduced. Seeing windmills on the skyline doesn't count as a nuisance.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 12:18:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seeing windmills on the skyline doesn't count as a nuisance.

The right to define a nuisance lays with those who live next to it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 12:52:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, and the farmers leasing out a few hundred square meters of field space to allow a turbine to be constructed have spoken with their signatures on the dotted line.
by asdf on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 01:38:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The people who live next to the turbines are often not the same ones as the people who own the land. For example, the previously mentioned company SCA is erecting turbines close to where some of my friends live, and this company own land equal to more than half the area of the Netherlands, 2.6 million hectares.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 02:25:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I talk about "skyline", I'm talking about five or ten km away, not the people who live next to the windmills, who are interested parties and must be listened to.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 03:39:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the windmill had been invented in India 3000 years ago they night have been studded with multicoloured gods and demons, their basse daily laved with coconut water and festooned in marigolds and tuberose.
Om

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 01:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"previously untouched" by industrial installations or industrial agriculture.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 03:55:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and one which is, naturally, not said loudly, is that the strongest opponents are often the owners of the land on which the wind turbines are NOT situated, who are jealous of the income of the guys with the wind tribunes (which amounts to something like 10,000 euros per year per turbine, for a loss of a few square meters of usable land).

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 12:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's one thing that such cncerns exit, but just how widespread are they in the population really? A problem in Britain has always been that a loud anti-wind minority has been assumed to represent a silent majority. Do you have a French poll on the subject?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 01:15:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For example, a recent poll on "spoiled landscape":

Holiday plans affected by windfarms - Environment - Scotsman.com

A total of 80 per cent of people in the UK - and 83 per cent of Scots surveyed - said the presence of a wind farm would not affect their decision about where to stay when on a holiday or short break in Britain.

When asked if wind farms spoiled the look of the countryside, 52.1 per cent of people in both Scotland and across the UK disagreed, with a further 29.3 per cent in the UK and 28.3 per cent of Scots saying they neither agreed nor disagreed.

Only 18.7 per cent in the UK and 19.6 per cent of Scots said wind farms did spoil the look of the countryside.

The most in-depth poll I saw which focused specifically on local opinion, was also from Scotland nine years ago, and found that people closest to the wind farms are the most supportive:

Public Attitudes to Windfarms: A Survey of Local Residents in Scotland

  • People living close to windfarms (within 20 km) like the areas they live in, mentioning the peacefulness (28%), scenery (26%), rural isolation (23%) and friendly people (20%) as particular strengths. When asked to say what the shortcomings are, most commonly mentioned are a lack of amenities (20%), poor public transport (18%), and lack of jobs (8%). Just five people (0.3%) spontaneously mention windfarms as a negative aspect of their area.

  • Three times the number of residents say that their local windfarm has had a broadly positive impact on the area (20%) than say that it has had a negative impact (7%). Most (73%) feel that it has had neither a positive nor negative impact, or expressed no opinion.

  • People who lived in their homes before the site was developed say that, in advance of the windfarm development, they thought that problems might be caused by its impact on the landscape (27%), traffic during construction (19%) and noise during construction (15%). However, only 12% say the landscape has been spoiled, 6% say there were problems with additional traffic, and 4% say there was noise or disturbance from traffic during construction.

  • ...People living closest to the windfarms tend to be most positive about them (44% of those living within 5km say the windfarm has had a positive impact, compared with 16% of those living 10-20km away). They are also most supportive of expansion of the sites (65% of those in the 5km zone support 50% expansion, compared with 53% of those in the 10-20km zone).

  • Similarly, those who most frequently see the windfarms in their day-to-day lives tend to be most favourable towards them (33% of those who see the turbines all the time or frequently say the windfarms have had a positive impact on the area, while 18% of those who only see them occasionally say the same).



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 01:36:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't cite a poll offhand, but I have personal knowledge of a groundswell of opposition to windmills in rural areas of SW France and in the Mediterranean coastal strip of Languedoc (flat, uninspiring landscape for the most part). I know people in hilly country who are undoubtedly "green-minded" who are passionately determined to prevent skyline wind projects (and they are succeeding). And the coastal opposition seems to veer towards threats of violence and sabotage (I have seen roadside graffiti threatening the "wind lobbyists" with the "rising anger" of the people).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 03:01:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  • Can you say if this is the case of a loud minority or a wider majority?
  • How much connection is there to the UK? Merely import of rhetoric, or organisational connections?
  • How much involved are farmers in wind projects in that region? Not at all, they only lease land, or are given shares in projects, or are there even community projects fully owned by locals?
  • Is your sample big enough to differentiate public opinion in areas where there are windmills already and areas without?


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 03:42:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'm not running a poll organisation... ;)

On the first question, I have been surprised by the number of people I've heard express fairly virulent anti-wind opinions. And the movement is wide enough to stop local projects not far from where I live.

I'm aware of no connection with the UK. This movement (as far as I can make out) is endogenous. It took off from the coastal areas.

Afaik farmers (as such) are not so much involved in the hill projects - landowners may be. They can lease and pick up rent. In some cases they can build their own projects (possibly after having bought land for the purpose). But there are also local-authority projects (one of which, locally, see above, is not going to see the light of day because of widespread opposition).

The more you go towards the Med coast, the more built projects there are, and the more virulent the opposition.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 03:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In hilly area, the place to put wind farms is on the crests. And it's also on those crests that the hiking trails go through... hiking trails that provide most if not all of the non-agriculture local business. And hiking on a path transformed into an industrial-strength dirt road for the purpose of building wind mills is not as romantic as on a smaller path !  (not to mention hiking while the windmills are being built).

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 10:08:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In hilly areas in Appalachia, the working alternative is to blow the crests sky high in mountain top removal coal mining.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 05:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No coal has been mined in France for 20 years... And also, there are alternative places to put windmills such as offshore or the Rhône valley which is thoroughly industrialised and has a reasonable wind resource.

The Massif Central is more densely populated than Appalachia, also.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 08:29:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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