Poll Shows 69% of Canadians Favour Wind Energy

From Orangeville Citizen

By Wes Keller

Worldwide wind power generation installed capacity grew by 19 per cent in 2012 to a total of 282,000 MW, according to a recent market study by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), but Canada ranked only ninth among countries that had experienced growth.

Almost coinciding with GWEC’s statistical release, an opinion poll conducted by Oracle Research found that 69 per cent of Ontarians are in favour of wind energy.

Installed capacity in Canada rose by 936 MW to 6,500 MW of capacity in 2012. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (Can- WEA) expects 2013 to be “a record year for new installations with the addition of almost 1,500 MW of new capacity – driving over $3- billion in new investments.”

Oracle says the opinion poll, commissioned by CanWEA, was of 1,000 voting-age residents, randomly selected, in all parts of Ontario. It is said to have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

It had only two questions: whether Ontario should continue to strive to be Canada’s leader in wind and solar power production, and which of five types of generation the subject preferred.

Oddly, the first of the two was to be ranked on the basis of agreement and also whether opposed on a scale of one-to-five, with five being the highest level of either agreement or disagreement, but the second question used the same scale in reverse order, such that “one” represented the highest level of preference and “five” the lowest.

On that basis, assuming the question was understood, Ontarians’ highest preference would be for solar generation (2.4), followed by wind (2.7), natural gas (2.8), hydroelectric (3.2) and nuclear (3.8).

The responses to the question of being a leader in both wind and solar were tabulated on the basis of demographics and income.

On the basis of age, of those aged 18-34, 10% totally disagreed and 82% agreed; at age 35-54, 16% opposed and 75% agreed; of those aged 55 and older, 25% disagreed and 67% agreed.

The poll found that 23% of people earning less than $50,000 disagreed with leading in wind and solar, and 61% agreed; in the income range of under $75,000, 12% disagreed and 75% agreed. Of people earning beyond $75,000, 25% disagreed with more wind and solar energy but 67% agreed.

Opinions on wind and solar varied across regions.

The greatest percentage of favour, 84%, was in Eastern Ontario. In Toronto, 76% of respondents were in favour, followed by the GTA at 70%.

The least support for wind was in the southwest at 59%, Hamilton/Niagara at 61%, the north at 67%, and central at 69%.

As expected, CanWEA welcomed the results.

“Wind energy continues to enjoy strong majority support as a choice for new electricity generation in Ontario and Quebec because it is understood to be both good for the environment and a provider of significant economic benefits for local economies that host developments,” said CanWEA president Robert Hornung.

“Less well known is the fact that wind energy is also now cost-competitive with virtually every option for new electricity generation. It is for these reasons that wind energy continues to be the fastest growing mainstream source of electricity in the world.”

Although opponents of wind and solar are seen by the poll to be in the minority, they are also the most vocal, so the world hasn’t heard the last of objections to wind while its possible health effects are being studied by Health Canada, which has outlined its methodology for studying possible effects wind-turbine sound has on human health.

At least one anti-wind blogger is crediting the study with Ontario’s granting of contracts and approvals.

The study is “Definitely not good news; by 2014 major wind projects will be already under construction unless the Ontario Liberal government calls a moratorium, or is defeated, the unidentified blogger posted, adding:

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