OLYMPIA, Wash. - Wind farm developers may be cheered by the results from a new public radio poll. It found broad support for wind energy among both urban and rural Northwest residents. The finding comes amidst nagging opposition to some new wind farms from upset neighbors. The opinion survey was a collaboration of the Northwest Health Foundation, the polling firm Davis, Hibbitts and Midghall and public radio stations across the Northwest.
In the last couple years, at least a half-a-dozen new wind farms in our region have been met by loud opposition from potential neighbors. We wondered if this is mostly a "not-in-my-backyard" phenomenon or if people in the Northwest are falling out of love with wind power.
Pollster Su Midghall asked 1,200 people across Oregon, Idaho and Washington how they would feel if the enormous turbines were erected near their homes.
Su Midghall: “An overwhelming percentage – 80% actually of residents of rural areas of the Northwest — support wind farms being developed within sight of their homes. What’s more interesting is that 50% strongly — not just somewhat — but strongly support this.”
The numbers were even higher in urban areas.
The poll did find people who were less enamored of having tall windmills in view of their homes. The most common objections they voiced were that wind power is impractical locally or that the turbines would be an eyesore.
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