Dr. Wayne Klug Evaluates Report of 2012 Wind Symposium
“Revealing Results on Wind” in the Greenfield Recorder (7/31/13 ) was Professor Wayne Klug’s analysis of the report issued by the Macalester Institute on the “Western Massachusetts Wind Energy Symposium” workshop held July 26, 2012. It was part of a series, Wind Energy – Visual Impacts and Public Perceptions, funded by a National Science Foundation grant.
Although the symposium was held last summer, polling results were released only this year. Curiously, the event itself received considerable press attention, but the findings did not. I offer this column as a partial remedy.
The most noteworthy findings concerned “best practices” where 96 percent supported local control over siting of industrial-scale wind projects (those supplying the grid), and 63 percent supported an “outright ban” in their own towns — or anywhere in the region. Surprisingly, the same number agreed that approval of such projects should require the unanimous consent of all landowners within a 3-mile radius.
“The event was held to measure public opinion in the hilltowns of western Massachusetts on the question of industrial-scale wind energy,” according to Klug, who participated as one of 24 randomly-selected residents from Berkshire and Franklin counties.
The day-long symposium at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams was organized by researchers from Macalester College and conducted by staff from the Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge. The project focused on visual aesthetics. The Macalester website shows the other workshops in the series–Laramie WY, “Wind Energy and Scenic Considerations in Wyoming” (6/17/09); Manistee MI, “Michigan Wind Energy Landscape Symposium” (7/6/11); and Moorhead, MN, “Minnesota Wind Energy Landscape Symposium” (11/10/11).
(A member of the Sierra Club and an environmental activist for 25 years, Dr. Wayne Klug is professor of psychology at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, where he co-created the school’s recycling program and serves as faculty advisor to MassPIRG.)