2005 Conference Papers

"Wind energy: Public opinion surveys across New Zealand - trends, comparisons & messages"
- James Baines

Presented at the New Zealand Wind Energy Conference, Wellington. Tuesday, 30 August 2005.

In the past few years there have been several surveys of public opinion towards wind energy and wind farms, some national and some more localised in geographical coverage. One of these surveys was commissioned by EECA in 2004 and updates an earlier national survey carried out in 1994. In this paper, comparisons are made over time and also between different samples of respondents (different communities of interest). A review of all the surveys' results invites a range of questions which are relevant to the planning and consenting of future wind farms in this country: have attitudes to wind energy and wind farms changed over the past ten years? do different types of community display different attitudes? is the focus on visual and noise effects appropriate? how do attitudinal surveys relate to experience of actual effects? What other sorts of information do we need to complement public opinion survey data? Ultimately, what does public opinion tell us about siting wind farms in New Zealand?