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Wellington Residents Firmly In Favour Of Wind

Tuesday, 3 May 2005

Wellington Residents Firmly In Favour Of Wind Generation, Survey Shows

A survey of Wellington residents has shown strong support for the idea of building a wind farm in the Wellington region.

The research involved both a quantitative survey of Wellingtonians attitudes to wind farms, and four focus groups; two made up of members of the Wellington general public, and two made up of residents of Karori, Kelburn, Highbury, Northland and Makara. Participants in the research, carried out by UMR Research for power generator and retailer Meridian Energy, see a wind farm as a way of putting the capital¹s well-known wind to good use.

Meridian wind development manager Adam Muldoon says those surveyed believe a wind farm would potentially become a new tourist attraction and would enhance Wellington¹s reputation as "eco-friendly."

"Among our objectives were to understand the support for and opposition to wind generation, how this might be affected by peoples" proximity to a wind farm site, how residents of particular suburbs might feel on the issue, and the extent to which Wellingtonians feel the reputation of our city can be enhanced by having a wind farm in the region.

Most of the participants identified wind power as their preferred option for New Zealand¹s next new power stations, and most noted the Wellington region as a logical location because it experiences sufficiently strong prevailing winds.

Mr Muldoon says participants who had actually seen wind farms such as Meridian’s Te Apiti site, north of the Manawatu Gorge, generally held positive views, describing them as visually impressive and peaceful to watch. In terms of the numbers, some 84 percent of those surveyed were positive about a wind farm in the capital as long as they could neither see nor hear the turbines. There was 75 percent support if the turbines were visible, but could not be heard. 68 percent of people indicated they would support a wind farm if the closest turbine was no less than a kilometre away and any noise was not loud or intrusive.

It is clear from the responses that there is widespread support for development of a wind farm in the capital, with wind power being seen as natural, renewable, non-polluting and a potential new tourist attraction.

While there are some trade-offs to be made in terms of visual impact, the majority of participants feel that any negative effects are vastly outweighed by the benefits of having an environmentally-friendly power source meeting much of the city's electricity needs using an abundant, natural, local, renewable resource, Mr Muldoon says


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