The people are revolting! Or at least, they are if the latest set of weekend headlines is to be believed.
Naturally, it’s easy to get carried away with the stories but for an industry that has always courted controversy, there’s a growing sense of uneasiness in the air. Communities have started to find their voice and the challenge of tackling public opinion has become an increasingly complex issue.
Make no mistake, the installation of turbines divides communities – as they weigh up a swathe of recent financial incentives on the one hand against local planning and regulatory issues on the other. Where once town hall meetings and extended periods of consultation served to the smooth the way for a new site, suddenly it’s no longer enough.
Companies frequently finding themselves backed into a corner, tasked with a growing checklist of actions to be addressed. Ironically though, it’s the biggest challenge that all too often gets overlooked. That of community communication and engagement.
If wind farms are going to win over this new breed of next generation nimbyism, then let’s not underestimate the power of public opinion.
The Inflation Reduction Act has sparked major optimism in the US renewables sector, but wind installations still fell 37% last year.