The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Testing the Waters: Gaining Public Support for Offshore Wind

The coastlines of the U.S. are brimming with potential for offshore wind development, yet every turbine is on land. Why isn't this coastal goldmine of clean energy and jobs being tapped? According to a new study, the impediment isn't technological, it's social.

Offshore wind would be a major boost to an already robust industry. U.S. coastlines are highly populated and windier than their land counterparts. There are also no technological barriers to offshore wind; it has been a reality in Europe for years.

While public acceptance isn’t the only hurdle facing U.S. offshore wind power (policy and permits also contribute), public opposition can delay, or even derail, a planned project.

In a recent study at the University of Delaware, researchers mapped public perceptions of offshore wind projects in order to uncover the factors that make — or break — public support.

The research, which is ongoing, involves polling residents in two areas with proposed offshore wind projects, Cape Wind off Massachusetts and Bluewater Wind off Delaware.

“The public works both ways. In Delaware, they helped the project move forward. In Cape Cod, they’ve slowed the flow of the project down,” says Jeremy Firestone, principal investigator of the project.

Influencing Factors

The biggest factor to influence people’s decisions about offshore wind power negatively, the researchers found, was perceived harm to recreational boating.

However, offshore wind turbine projects won’t prevent people from boating, says Firestone. “It’s obviously going to affect your view and, in that regard, the experience. But people can still boat.”

On the other hand, people can get behind the pricing of offshore wind, since electricity prices can be locked in for a long period.

“A lot of people value price stability, and that’s one of the things they like about wind turbines,” says Firestone. “Businesses and people can do a lot better budgeting with stable prices.”

The environmental component is also critical, since wind power also decreases costs to society.

“One of the things that gets lost in a lot of the price discussion,” says Firestone, “is that a lot of the cost to society is not included in the price that we pay for electricity.”

He cites coal as an example. “There is a lot of environmental harm created through the mining and burning of coal, and large health impacts. These are not priced in the market.”

Part of the Greater Good

The researchers were particularly surprised by participants responses when asked if they would be more or less likely to support a project if it was the first of 300 such projects. The majority of opposed or undecided residents were more likely to support a project if it was part of a greater whole and likely to create an industry for offshore wind.

According to the study, this “overwhelming sentiment among survey respondents provides further reason to reject the knee-­jerk labeling of opponents as NIMBY [not in my backyard] — adding 300 more offshore wind facilities later would not reduce the local impacts at all.”

Says Firestone: “It’s a testament to the fact that the public is hungry for something bigger than themselves, and really would be behind an energy policy that was transformative.”

The study has been accepted by the Journal of Environmental Panning and Management, according to the authors.

This story was originally published on ecomagination and was republished with permission.

Lead image: Offshore wind via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Why Renewable Energy in Latin America is a Winner

Carlos Candiales Renewable energy in Latin America has made some important gains over the last decade and seems positioned to continue...

US Wind Energy Selling At Record Low Price of 2.5 Cents per kWh

Andrew Burger Wind power prices have dropped down to an all-time low of just 2.5 cents per kWh, far below the average national aver...

LG Chem: Storage Battery Leader

Debra Fiakas The post “Energy Storage Restart,” which was published last week, discussed the efforts by General Electric (GE: NYSE...

Solar Making Big Gains in the Land of the Rising Sun

Vince Font The Land of the Rising Sun is living up to its nickname. According to a new report from the SolarSuperState Associati...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

FINANCIAL NEWS

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

International Energy and Sustainability Conference 2015

The fourth International Energy and Sustainability Conference will be he...

Wind Operator Congress Europe

The UK’s only business-focused O&M event for the European wind...

COMPANY BLOGS

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

Koch Professor drops his Koch title, still makes same errors plus s...

The Koch Professor’s title isn’t the only thing that’s...

Fact Check: AWEA represents American wind power

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is proud of its members for ...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS