The aim of the project The Effects of Wind Power on Human Interests is to describe, analyse and value research on how wind power may affect human interests, and to present: "what we can say based on what we know today". The report addresses managers, officials, wind power projectors and also the general public. Research on how wind power may affect health, economy and businesses, and the landscape is analysed. The process of gaining approval for wind power connected to the above mentioned interests is also studied and valued. The report begins with aims and targets (Chap 1), and discusses issues connected to people's interests. The method is described and the participating researchers are presented. Then the following four themes are analysed: Health (Chap 2): noise, shadows, reflexes, and light; perceptions of annoyance; sleep disorder; symptoms; illnesses; worry. Economy and businesses (Chap 3): labour market effects; external costs; effects on other market sectors (e.g. tourism, recreation and reindeer industry); effects not valued by the market; property prices; ownership and co-operatives; compensation mechanisms. Landscape (Chap 4) discusses: landscape analysis and planning; perceptions of landscape values; natural and cultural environments; leisure and recreation. Acceptance and support (Chap 5) discusses issues on: the opposition by the public (attitudes and participation); institutional relations (planning and consultation); public participation; communication; code of conduct. Discussion, analyses, conclusions, recommendations and gaps of knowledge are included in Chapter 6.
Wind power is a renewable energy source. As a part of decreasing global warming, there is a huge need for developing such energy sources. Wind power is expanding in Sweden, as well as in Europe and in other parts of the world. In Sweden, the goal is to reach 50% renewable energy by 2020. Wind power is expanding most in China, USA and in India. In Europe, Germany and Spain have the largest number of wind power plants. The expansion of wind power affects people´s interests differently depending on whether the person is a land owner, a permanent resident, summer resident or a tourist. These interest groups perceive and use the landscape in different ways. A person seeking for tranquility and calmness may be disturbed by a wind power plant, whereas a land owner views a wind power plant as a source of income.
In Sweden, most people are positive about renewable energy. Enquiries made by the SOM Institute (Society, Opinion, Media), in 2010, showed that 87% of the public believed that wind power is environmentally friendly. 57% were very, or rather, positive about a wind power establishment in their own municipality. 40% percent were positive or rather positive about wind power plants close to their own home (13% very positive, 27% rather positive) or close to their summer house (14% very positive, 26% rather positive). People may have both positive and negative attitudes towards wind power. If a wind power establishment is planned in a landscape that people have special Relationship with, the attitudes towards wind power may become negative or skeptical, even by someone who has a positive attitude towards wind power in general. The visual impact may be an important factor contributing to negative attitudes towards wind power, if a wind power plant is established in the near surroundings.
An individual’s ability to influence the wind power process also influences the attitude.