According to a recent survey from the Saint Consulting Group the number of Americans who support wind energy is on the rise. A full 82% of Americans surveyed this year said that they would favor wind energy developments in their hometown. This percentage is up from 76% last year. The greatest acclaim for wind power comes from the Midwest, where a massive 86% of respondents said that they would be supportive of wind development in their communities.

Why might the number be on the rise? One likely explanation is that all the recent press on energy issues has brought a heightened sense of awareness of how the American economy benefits when power is generated locally. According to the Saint Consulting Group, support for all kinds of local power generation is increasing, suggesting that Americans are becoming progressively more in favor of improving America’s energy independence and energy security.

Another likely reason for the augmented support for wind energy is that people are becoming more aware of the potential human and environmental consequences of global climate change. Research conducted at the end of 2008 by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication showed that 72 percent of Americans felt that global warming was personally important to them. Furthermore, an impressive 90 percent of Americans said that they would be willing to undergo economic losses if the United States were willing to act to reduce climate change. For instance, 72 percent of respondents said that they would support an initiative to increase the average annual household electric bill by 100 dollars if it meant that 20% of their electricity would come from renewable sources.

These figures are particularly significant when compared to a 2007 Gallup Poll that showed that only 60% of Americans believed that global warming was starting to occur. People are increasingly realizing how wind power can contribute much needed rejuvenation to the current economic and environmental situations.

While previous research has shown that support is often not as high when wind projects are actually proposed in communities as when they are theoretically suggested, it is nevertheless encouraging that Americans are increasingly thinking about the benefits that wind energy provides. Furthermore, it is important to note that projects developed by National Wind generally face very little opposition, if any, due to our strong emphasis on community involvement, from project founding through operation. Local community members are key stakeholders in our projects financially and also provide significant input via regular advisory board meetings and landowner forums during the development process. Non-community-owned wind projects, on the other hand, often face opposition because they fail to offer landowners these benefits.

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