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Town of Narragansett Clean Energy Opinion Survey
The town of Narragansett was one of the two land-based areas in Rhode Island that was identified in the RIWINDS Report that had wind speeds that would support the construction of wind turbines. Because of this, DEM formed a partnership with the town concerning possible sites for the installation of wind turbines.
In March of 2009, DEM, with the assistance of the town, designed an attitudinal survey that had a 95% confidence level and a sampling error of ±5%. The survey was formulated to assist DEM and the town to understand the public sentiment concerning the siting of sources of clean green renewable energy. When it comes to the development of large scale renewable energy generators, public interest, participation, and opinion are a key priority. It is important to know where the public stands involving specific projects and sites.
DEM, with assistance form the town, conducted an attitudinal survey for the joint Narragansett Wind Energy project. Printed surveys were mailed out to random property owners in various neighborhoods in the town based on a list provided by the town. The first letter of the survey was sent in early summer, with subsequent letters sent out in July. (Narragansett Mailing) The survey includes 34 questions on renewable energy, opinions on the proposed sites, and background data for statistical purposes.
The survey was sent to 778 residences approximately 430 responses were returned. This number of responses constituted a sample size that was considered statistically significant.
A report was written concerning the survey. Attachment A of the report is a copy of the survey that was mailed. Some of the important findings from the survey included:
General Questions on Renewable Energy
There is support for all five sites in Narragansett. The range of support was from 78% to 82%, with the Port of Galilee having the highest support and Black Point having the lowest. The opposition to the proposal varied from 9% to 14% with the Port of Galilee and the Scarborough Treatment facility having the smallest opposition (9%) and Black Point having the greatest opposition (14%).
Views on Specific Issues Concerning Wind Turbines
The survey identified the following issues where wind turbine projects in Narragansett would have a positive impact on residents:
Views on Ownership of Turbines
The responses indicated 72% of the people were more likely to support the project if the town owned it. The support dropped to 49% if the state or a developer owned the project.
Narragansett Beaches Survey
Additionally, surveys were conducted at state and town properties in Narragansett in July and August. These included Scarborough, Salty Brine, and Roger Wheeler state beaches, and Narragansett town beach.