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New Zealand

New Zealand

CLEAR MESSAGE FROM VOTERS

A survey in New Zealand of the public perception of wind farms shows an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards wind energy. Most people are even prepared to pay more for their electricity if it is cleanly produced and do not regard potential noise and visual pollution as insurmountable obstacles.

A growing awareness of the possibilities of wind power are reflected in strong public support for the technology, according to a survey released by New Zealand's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

Of 1000 people surveyed in the country, nearly 90% believed that New Zealand should make greater use of wind power as electricity use increases and expressed support for renewable energy sources. Almost 60% said that they would be prepared to pay more for electricity from wind-based sources, with 58% prepared to pay up to 5% more over other sources and one in five happy to pay 15% more.

Wind rated the highest score on environmental acceptability, although there was an awareness of the problems of visual and noise pollution. Sixty percent of respondents would be in favour of having a wind farm "across the road" so long as it could not be heard, and even with a "noisy" wind farm (defined as "less than living on a main road" ), half would still support it. Favourability increased to more than 80% if the wind farm was on the distant skyline.

Martin Gummer, the authority's CEO, says the public support for wind power is likely to play "an important factor in assisting its development over coming years."

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