A UK poll of 2,000 people found that 65% would prefer wind turbine technology located near their home, rather than a fracking well. While this result is not too surprising, about 14% said they did prefer the fracking wells to wind turbines.
ICM for Co-operative Energy conducted the polling and also found that solar power was the most preferred source of electricity, with 30%. Only 2% said they preferred shale or gas from fracking.
“There is a real appetite amongst the general public to see renewable energy grow and prosper, but with more emphasis on community energy schemes which allow local communities to share the rewards,” explained Ramsay Dunning, from Co-operative Energy.
About 47% of those polled said they support paying a small fee to encourage renewable energy.
The British Geological Society has published a list of potential problems with fracking:
- carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions, particularly the potential for increased fugitive CH4 emissions during drilling compared with drilling for conventional gas
- the volumes of water and the chemicals used in fracking and their subsequent disposal
- the possible risk of contaminating groundwater competing land-use requirements in densely populated areas
- the physical effects of fracking in the form of increased seismic activity.
It’s a very obvious and arguably even a silly point to say that wind turbines have none of these potential issues, except the land needed for locating and operating them. Wind turbines seem preferable in almost every way to fracking, so one might say the polling was of a rhetorical nature.
Currently, the UK gets about 40% of its electricity from burning natural gas, which proponents have pointed out produces less air pollution than using coal power plants. However, fracking support has declined considerably. (A recent study conducted in the US found some public health problems related to fracking.)
It seems very typical for these situations involving the use of conventional forms of energy and renewables to be framed as arguments or even fights. What often happens is that they are both used simultaneously, so the rancor that surfaces on either or both “sides” of the political discourse is too often unnecessary or sort of irrelevant.
Image Credit: kloniwotski, Wiki Commons
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