The CSIRO has found that there is stronger community support for wind farms across Australia than suggested by media coverage.
The research organisation surveyed attitudes to nine wind farms across the states of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria and compared the results with articles published in 19 newspapers during the second half of 2010.
It found that rural residents often backed the developments but did not seek media attention or political engagement to express their views. On the other hand, newspapers often reported wind farm opposition and the reasons for that opposition.
South Australia produces more than half of all Australia’s wind power and and the State’s Attorney-General, John Rau, said he believed there was considerable support in the State’s rural communities for wind farm developments. “A lot of people who have them on their property are very grateful for the income that they receive,” he said.
Unlike New South Wales, which is proposing to introduce the world’s toughest wind farm regulations, South Australia has recently introduced new draft rules which will allow wind turbines to be located as close as one kilometre from a home or even closer if the home owner agrees.