Blades Of Fury: A Look At Wind Energy Resistance In Ontario
Piccirilli, Alexandria Rose
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Anthropogenic activities are causing unequivocal and persistent climatic alterations. Wind energy and other alternative energy forms can minimize harmful emissions and provide sustainable solutions to climate change. Despite environmental benefits, public backlash and implementation issues impede wind energy. The development of wind energy in Ontario is substantially impacted by public perception of the technology. This paper explores the social barriers to the widespread adoption of wind energy in the province as identified by residents in two rural communities - Prince Edward County and Kincardine. Forty-one residents in close proximity to the Armow Wind and the White Pines Wind projects were asked to describe their experiences with project planning and identify grievances. Human health, noise concerns, property value, and aesthetic disruption are primary concerns for residents, which is consistent with findings presented in the academic literature. Public perception plays an integral role in project development. Wind energy in Ontario faces significant resistance from community inhabitants near wind farm developments. This paper also examines how public participation in energy planning shapes residential wind energy perceptions. An in-depth examination of the participatory processes in both regions demonstrates that increased public involvement can positively shape wind energy attitudes. Public involvement strategies must be re-evaluated to reconcile community-proponent tensions and maximize resident decision-making power. Some residents in Kincardine and Prince Edward County are willing to re-evaluate their stance on wind energy projects with more active engagement in planning. These research findings also demonstrate how strained relationships between local communities and the provincial government can impact wind development. An inherent distrust of the provincial government and project planners exists in both study locations. This distrust leads to public unwillingness to accept government-issued wind energy information, shapes wind energy attitudes, and perpetuates misconceptions.