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Most of the scholarly focus to date has been on large horizontal axis rather than vertical axis wind turbines. It may be possible to improve the efficiency of vertical axis wind technology by deploying turbines in clusters. There might also be advantages to deploying vertical axis turbines at a smaller scale in urban or suburban areas and in places where the risk of bird damage is highest. Would these features increase public acceptance of new wind turbine installations and possibly open up new areas for wind energy development?
Bruce Cain and Iris Hui, from Stanford University's Bill Lane Center for the American West, conducted a public opinion poll in California to examine public receptiveness. They used experimental design to assess the willingness to accept vertical axis turbines in certain urban settings and found that the visual differences between the vertical and conventional wind turbines did not matter very much in any of the hypothetical settings in which they placed them. However, the prospect of killing fewer birds registered strongly with survey respondents, though it could be outweighed by concern for cost. They also show that certain segments of the population, particularly those who are more educated, may be open to a more extensive deployment of vertical axis turbines in urban communities.
Presented by Bruce E. Cain and Iris Hui. Paper co-authored by John O. Dabiri.
Bruce Cain is an expert in U.S. politics, and particularly the politics of California and the American West. A pioneer in computer-assisted redistricting, he is a prominent scholar of elections, political regulation, and the relationships between lobbyists and elected officials.
Prior to joining Stanford, Professor Cain was Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley from 1990-2007 and Executive Director of the UC Washington Center from 2005-2012. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and has won awards for his research (Richard F. Fenno Prize, 1988), teaching (Caltech 1988 and UC Berkeley 2003) and public service (Zale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Policy Research and Public Service, 2000). He is currently working on state regulatory processes and stakeholder involvement in the areas of water, energy and the environment.
Iris Hui is a Senior Researcher at the Bill Lane Center. She obtained her doctoral degree from University of California, Berkeley in Political Science. Prior to Stanford, she was a "Social Science In Practice” postdoctoral fellow at UCLA and a W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Her research interests lie at the intersection of politics and geography, with particular focus on environment governance, public opinion and political behavior.