Public support for wind power has risen in line with increased development, a new poll suggests.
The YouGov survey for industry body Scottish Renewables found that 71% of people want the continued development of wind power as part of Scotland’s energy mix, compared to 64% in February 2013.
Support was highest among younger Scots, with 81% of those aged 18-24 backing wind power, compared to 65% of over-55s.
It was lowest in south Scotland (64%) and the Highlands and Islands (66%), and highest in Glasgow and the Lothians (both 79%).
Onshore wind capacity in Scotland has risen by 20% over the same time period, Scottish Renewables added.
Senior policy manager Joss Blamire said: “These poll results highlight once again that not only do the vast majority of Scots support wind power, but the number who do is actually increasing.
“The wind energy sector is thriving in Scotland, providing jobs, investment and helping to tackle climate change – and these figures show it’s doing all of this with the Scottish public right behind it.
“We are often told by a vocal minority of objectors that Scots don’t like wind power but this poll shows there is absolutely no evidence to support this – in fact, quite the opposite.”
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “It’s fantastic news to see the growth in Scotland’s onshore wind capacity is matched by increased public support for this clean energy source.
“It’s clear that the public know and like the fact that wind power is helping to cut carbon, create jobs and keep the lights on.”
Welcoming the poll, energy minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scottish Government policy on onshore wind farms strikes a careful balance between maximising Scotland’s huge green energy potential and protecting some of our finest scenic landscapes – planning authorities help to guide wind farms to the best places and when wind farms don’t meet strict planning guidelines they are rejected.
“Wind power, as part of a wider, balanced energy mix in Scotland, has a pivotal role in the delivery of Scotland’s 2020 targets, with the latest statistics showing that Scotland is on track for another record year of renewable generation in 2014, with generation up 21% over the first three quarters of the year.”
YouGov polled 1,008 Scottish adults online between February 24 and 25.