Chad J.R. Walker, M.A.* - Western University
Jamie Baxter, PhD - Western University
This thesis addresses a major gap in the wind turbine, energy policy, and risk assessment literatures. It explains local support for wind energy development in some areas in contrast with the vocal opposition in others. Findings from Port Burwell and Clear Creek, Ontario indicate that social and contextual forces may help explain much of the difference in opinion between the two communities. The province of Ontario, Canada may be somewhat of a unique case when it comes to wind energy; it is a place where many people are reporting serious health effects due to turbines built too close to homes. The "wind turbine debate" arguably also played a role in the resignation of Provincial leader, Dalton McGuinty in October 2012. This case study was focused through 25+ in-depth interviews and surveys distributed to those living closest to turbines in both communities. The interviews were analyzed verbatim using NVIVO 9 software. The findings were found to be consistent with Kasperson's theory of the Social Amplification (and Attenuation) of Risk and seem to explain why Port Burwell is an area of high support for wind turbines while other places across Ontario, like Clear Creek to an extent, are not nearly as supportive. Ultimately the thesis calls for a policy change and rededication to promote effective green energy and climate change policy in Ontario.