* Two thirds of respondents favour wind power
* Majority says look of wind turbines acceptable
* Vocal minority still an obstacle for expansion
April 19 A majority of British people accept the
look of wind turbines on the landscape and around two thirds
favour wind power as an energy source, a sample of over 1,000
adults surveyed across the United Kingdom showed.
Onshore wind is the least costly source of low-carbon
energy, but a minority opposed to the look of turbines has
slowed its development and raises costs for the UK to achieve
its climate targets, a spokesman for RenewableUK said.
"Opposition to wind farms is the reserve of a relatively
very small, but a very noisy and vociferous minority that is
causing more difficulties at a local level," said Adam Bell of
the wind and marine power lobby group, which had commissioned
market research group Ipsos MORI to conduct the survey.
"What this poll shows is that there is a silent majority in
favour of wind power and a silent majority that (accepts) the
look of wind turbines," he said, noting a number of onshore wind
farm projects have been facing difficulties in getting approval.
In the online survey, respondents aged 16-64 were asked to
rate the level of acceptability of the look of wind farms on the
landscape on a 10 point scale ranging from completely
unacceptable (1) to completely acceptable (10).
Fifty-seven percent of the 1,009 respondents gave a score
between seven and 10, while one in six gave scores between one
and four. Two in 10 were neutral, while 4 percent did not know.
The survey results were similar to a renewable energy survey
carried out late last year by online research firm YouGov,
suggesting opposition to wind is often localised to particular
projects and does not reflect wider public opinion.
The UK has one of the most ambitious climate targets in the
world, with a 2050 goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by
80 percent from 1990 levels. It has set legally binding targets
for four five-year periods to 2027, known as carbon budgets.
Britain also has a 2020 target to deliver 15 percent of the
country's energy consumption from renewable sources, such as
wind, solar, marine and biomass.
Data from the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change
(DECC) suggests installed onshore wind capacity could grow to 13
gigawatts by the end of the decade from just over 4 GW in
But the government may have to turn to other, more expensive
renewable sources if the vocal minority opposed to the erection
of more onshore turbines succeeds in blocking development.
"The less onshore wind you deploy, the more expensive
technologies you will have to deploy instead which just
increases the cost of going green," Bell said.
The cost of electricity generated from onshore wind ranges
between 75-127 pounds ($120-$200) per megawatt hour (MWh),
according to DECC, citing 2010 data.
By comparison, the cost of solar ranges between 202-380
pounds/MWh, offshore wind 149-191 pounds/MWh and dedicated
biomass 127-165 pounds/MWh.
($1 = 0.6238 British pounds)
(Reporting by Jeff Coelho; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)