CALGARY — Albertans file very few complaints about wind power projects once those projects are operating, a new study by the Pembina Institute has found.
The study was designed to document the number and nature of official complaints that have been brought to the various authorities in Alberta that are most likely to receive them.
Among those who were interviewed — including the electricity industry regulator, the municipalities where wind farms are located, and the operators of nearly all of the wind turbines in the province — very few complaints were found.
In particular, the Alberta Utilities Commission, which regulates the sector, did not find a single complaint against an operating utility-scale wind energy project in its 31,000 contacts received since 2000.
"Alberta has more than 20 years of experience in developing wind power and some of the best potential for wind energy generation in the country," said Ben Thibault, legal and policy analyst with the Pembina Institute. "It’s encouraging to see that Albertans appear to be living near wind turbines with few complaints."
This study should not be interpreted as a broader indicator of public opinion toward wind projects in Alberta. The authorities who participated in the study noted that, while some people raised concerns during the preliminary permitting and construction phases of the projects, few of those concerns translate into complaints once the turbines are operating.
Further research would be valuable to determine practices that operators or authorities have used to mitigate concerns that residents may have about wind development, but that were not captured as official complaints.
Legal and Policy Analyst, Renewable Energy
403-269-3344 x 122