Web exclusive, August 5, 2010
Peninsula Power’s survey shows support for wind power feasibility study
by Jonathan Thomas
An informal survey conducted by Peninsula Power, a local group of volunteers, indicates that 92 percent of the 541 respondents either support or strongly support the group’s efforts to conduct a wind power feasibility study at Christy Hill in Sedgwick.
Peninsula Power proposes to serve the four towns of Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, and Sedgwick “using clean and renewable means, providing a stable, low price for 20 years, reducing pollution and creating a hedge against the rising cost of fossil fuels,” according to its Web site. During the course of the survey, it collected responses from residents of 18 identified communities, along with 49 responses from those who did not list a town of residency.
A press release about the survey said that volunteers collected opinions and written comments on survey cards at selected locations, including the Blue Hill Farmers Market (at the fairgrounds), outside TradeWinds Market Place and at the Blue Hill/Surry Transfer Station. They also handed out flyers that explained their program and invited others to participate in their activities.
The single survey question read: “Do you support the effort by Peninsula Power to have a wind power feasibility study conducted for a site off Christy Hill in Sedgwick which will provide the necessary information for community discussion for wind power installation in our community?”
Participants were given five options, ranging from “strongly support” to “strongly oppose.” They were also asked to list their town of local residence, and whether they were a permanent or seasonal resident.
Peninsula Power provided a detailed tabulation of the results broken down by level of support (or opposition), town, and permanent vs. seasonal residency.
In summary, the results were: 370 people (68.4 percent) strongly supported the question, and 130 people (24.0 percent) supported it, showing a total support level of more than 92 percent.
Sixteen people (3.0 percent) had no opinion. Eight people (1.5 percent) opposed the question, and 17 people (3.1 percent) strongly opposed the question.
There were no significant differences between the responses of the 393 persons (73 percent) who identified themselves as permanent residents, and the 148 (27 percent) who self-identified as seasonal residents. A slightly higher percentage of seasonal residents strongly supported the question. On the other hand, a higher percentage of permanent residents strongly opposed the question.
Survey data provided by Peninsula Power includes a list of 182 comments, which indicates about a third of respondents wanted to express themselves beyond checking a box. These comments are not categorized or sorted, except by place of residence. They range from one or two words, such as “great” or “good idea,” to “This is all bunk.” Some ask questions, such as “Why not Blue Hill?” while others say “Not on Blue Hill [mountain],” and express concern over possible noise, visual impact, or risk to birds and bats. There are more positive than negative comments, generally reflecting the overall tabulated results on the survey question.
Paul Trowbridge, Peninsula Power volunteer leader, said his group would be seeking opportunities to meet with clubs and civic groups in the area to talk about the group’s activities and to seek further public input.
Peninsula Power has received a grant to provide for the loan of an anemometer test tower that will be erected on Christy Hill in Sedgwick to gather data over the coming year.