Here’s a quick note on recent polling about wind energy among Northwest voters.

We’ve all heard loud opposition to wind farms—the most ardent critics are usually neighbors who dislike the idea of seeing wind turbines out their windows, but overall, public opinion in the Northwest is looking pretty good for wind energy development.

That’s right. A recent public radio poll of voters in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, found broad support for wind energy among both urban and rural Northwest residents—even if the turbines would be visible from their homes.

Of course, anyone who answered in the hypothetical could go the other way if a wind farm was proposed that would actually be visible from their home!

For my part, I hope these findings signal an emerging clean-energy aesthetic, where clean energy technologies look more and more beautiful to us because they represent good stuff: progress, health, and economic strength.

Public Radio Poll Chart Wind Energy

  • The survey asked 1,200 people across Oregon, Idaho and Washington how they would feel if the enormous turbines were erected near their homes. Pollster Su Midghall seemed surprised by the high levels of support:

    An overwhelming percentage—80 percent of residents of rural areas of the Northwest—support wind farms being developed within sight of their homes. What’s more interesting is that 50 percent strongly—not just somewhat—but strongly support this.

    Not surprisingly, support is even greater in urban areas.

    Hopefully this kind of thing is a sign, not only that clean energy technologies are becoming mainstream, but also that we’ve begun embrace the health, security, power, and economic advancement represented by technologies that harness clean, homegrown energy sources that can never run out—and to see the grace in them—even in our own back yards.

    The opinion survey was a collaboration of the Northwest Health Foundation, the polling firm Davis, Hibbitts and Midghall and public radio stations across the Northwest.

    Image courtesy: NPR.