Public Attitudes Towards Wind Energy Facilities: An Analysis Using Visual Q Method

Public Attitudes Towards Wind Energy Facilities: An Analysis Using Visual Q Method
発表者/presenter’s name:〇Mai Haotian 1
所属/Affiliation:1 Graduate School of Landscape Architecture, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea


The 2016 Paris Agreement ushered in an era where wind power emerged as a pivotal tool in combating the climate crisis due to its scalability, adaptability, and minimal environmental footprint. Governments in countries such as Germany, the United States, Brazil, and Australia have introduced subsidies to bolster wind power adoption. However, the conspicuous presence of wind turbines has ignited debates surrounding their impact on natural landscapes. While early perceptions often deemed them as intrusions, contemporary concepts like energy landscapes and sustainable energy landscapes have sought to integrate wind energy facilities into spatial planning. The “NIMBY” (Not In My Backyard) phenomenon underscores local resistance, primarily focused on concerns like environmental repercussions, noise pollution, and visual disruption. Previous research has made efforts to evaluate the visual impact of wind energy installations, yet there exists no standardized set of guidelines. Most studies propose keeping such facilities out of public view, but the discourse on their visual acceptability persists. Although the “Q method” has been employed to gauge public attitudes, comprehensive research on societal perceptions of wind energy landscapes remains limited.

This study, conducted from October 2022 to April 2023, utilizes a visual Q methodology approach to investigate public perceptions of wind energy facilities within diverse landscapes. The experiment involved collecting images representing various dimensions: landscape type, land use, and cultural identity. A total of 40 respondents, comprising 20 experts and 20 non-experts from diverse backgrounds, participated in structured card-sorting exercises and subsequent semi-structured interviews.

The study identified four key attitude factors towards wind energy facilities:

  1. “Flowing Landscape Lover” (20% variance): Favoring dynamic landscapes near water with wind energy, focusing on suitability over aesthetics.
  2. “Ultimate Naturalist” (12% variance): Preferring wind turbines in natural settings, emphasizing efficiency in open spaces.
  3. “New Lifestyle Advocate” (13% variance): Supporting wind turbines in active areas for efficiency but opposing them in culturally rich spaces.
  4. “Maintainer of Color and Order” (14% variance): Emphasizing turbine arrangement, favoring spaced, colorful installations for visual harmony.

Despite differences, there was a shared perception of ‘acceptable’ or ‘unacceptable’ landscape images, indicating a degree of consensus. Participants generally favored large-scale wind energy applications, reflecting evolving public attitudes driven by increasing concerns about climate change.

This research demonstrates that the Q methodology offers a pragmatic foundation for decision-making in wind energy facility deployment, enabling informed judgments beyond data-driven decisions.

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