Not in my hiking trail? Acceptance of wind farms in the Austrian Alps

Journal Article

Title: Not in my hiking trail? Acceptance of wind farms in the Austrian Alps
Publication Date:
July 29, 2019
Journal: Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy
Volume: 21
Issue: 8
Pages: 1603-1616
Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg

Document Access

Website: External Link


Brudermann, T.; Zaman, R.; Posch, A. (2019). Not in my hiking trail? Acceptance of wind farms in the Austrian Alps. Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy, 21(8), 1603-1616.

Large-scale wind power projects are one of the bearers of hope for a transition toward low-carbon electricity systems. The question of social acceptance of such projects near residential areas, or acceptance of the technology in general, has received significant attention in the scientific literature. Less attention has been placed on acceptability of wind farms in sparsely inhabited mountain areas; the focus of this paper therefore is on acceptance of wind farms in the Austrian Alps from the perspective of tourists and day trippers. We conducted a quantitative survey with visitors of alpine regions (n = 137) in proximity to recently constructed wind farms and identified drivers of (non-)acceptance by means of bivariate correlations and multiple linear regressions. Results indicate a high acceptance of wind technology in general and fairly high acceptance for the existing projects. Acceptance levels, however, are slightly, but significantly lower when respondents were asked to rate acceptability of wind farms in the Alps in general. Perceived benefits and reliability of wind power is the strongest predictor variable for higher acceptance levels, while annoyance through visual impact and noise is the strongest predictor variable for lower acceptance levels. Interestingly, factors like degree of information, concern regarding environmental impacts, trust in decision makers and climate change concern do not significantly affect acceptance levels. At the moment, no major opposition to wind power can be identified among tourists. Policy makers therefore should emphasize benefits of wind farms, as respective perceptions are a main predictor for acceptance. Operators should take annoyance concerns seriously, as this factor is predominant in predicting non-acceptance.

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