Assessing Wind Energy Acceptance Amongst Landowning Farmers in Alberta, Canada

  • Author / Creator
    Holowach, Monique
  • This study explores the acceptance of wind energy amongst rural landowning farmers in Alberta as they are a demographic that will be directly involved in and affected by wind energy development in the province. This thesis project uses data from an online survey completed by 401 Albertan landowning farmers between December 2018 and March 2019. The introductory chapter overviews the social acceptance of wind energy (SAWE) literature, the Albertan energy and wind energy landscape, the project background, and research methodology. In Chapter 2, I use ordered logistic regressions to assess how political ideology, fossil fuel preferences, and beliefs about wind energy impact attitudes towards wind energy (i.e., wind acceptance). I also explore whether wind energy is a politically polarized topic by looking for patterns in wind energy opinions across political divisions. The data suggests wind energy views are not politically polarized nor even polarized within this demographic as few expressed strong opinions for or against this type of energy development. Instead, Albertan landowners appear to take diverse, moderate, and fragmented positions on various aspects of wind energy, a finding that suggests they are open to amending their views. Beliefs about the economic and environmental impacts of wind energy appear crucial in shaping landowners’ overall stance on this low-carbon technology. Chapter 3 is an exploratory study investigating the relationship between different beliefs about climate change and wind energy acceptance. Binomial logistic regressions suggest believing in the efficacy of and feeling a sense of responsibility in climate action makes one less likely to oppose wind energy, although perceived social norms had a stronger impact. Additionally, I use an exploratory cluster analysis to identify two main climate beliefs profiles, which I name as the Climate Realists and Climate Skeptics. These analyses suggest climate denial beliefs are common within this demographic, with many expressing climate denial beliefs that are strong and therefore unlikely to be reformed. Chapter 4 synthesizes insights from the project as a whole and proposes avenues for further energy social science research in Alberta.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.