From: Stanford University
Published November 29, 2017 10:46 AM

Stanford researchers test public receptiveness to different wind energy turbines

With global carbon emissions on the rise, wind power continues to be an attractive option for states and countries looking to limit fossil fuel use and increase renewable energy. Wind already accounts for over 5 percent of electricity generation in the United States. However, a number of issues plague the low-carbon energy source, such as complaints from nearby residents about noise and the killing of hundreds of thousands of birds and bats each year that collide with turbine blades.

Last week, in a setback to wind energy proponents, the Vermont Public Utility Commission adopted new regulations that limited the amount of sound new wind projects are allowed to produce. And in counties across California, similar restrictions have been passed limiting wind energy expansion. While some states are growing their wind power sectors, California has seen a plateau in growth over the last four years.

To better understand these concerns over wind energy, Stanford researchers conducted a poll examining how receptive people in California are to vertical axis wind turbines in various settings. The research, published in the journal Energy Policy, was funded by the Bill Lane Center for the American West.

“For California, even with the state’s support for climate action and reducing emissions, wind farms can be a tough sell for residents,” said Iris Hui, a co-author on the paper and senior researcher with the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. “We wanted to see if the potential for lower impacts from vertical axis turbines might persuade Californians to be more receptive to large-scale wind projects.”


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