No to NIMBY? Probably Not

By June 3, 2008Energy

RBC Capital Markets released its annual energy survey yesterday (news release), which includes this nugget:

Americans’ NIMBY “Not In My Backyard” syndrome also appears to be waning. Only 16 per cent of Americans said that they would oppose the construction of any type of energy plant or facility in their hometown, down from 23 per cent in 2007. Seventy-one per cent of Americans said they would support an alternative-energy system in their hometown, including a wind or solar facility, up from 58 per cent last year; 34 per cent would support a clean coal technology plant (up from 27 per cent last year); 32 per cent would support a liquefied natural gas facility (up from 25 per cent last year); and 21 per cent would support a nuclear power plant (up from 17 per cent). Nevertheless, the survey found that although a majority of Americans attribute the rapid rise in gas prices to a lack of oil refining capacity in the U.S., eight out of 10 said they oppose the construction of an oil refinery in their hometown.

You just have to doubt any survey of attitudes about NIMBYism. The questions and considerations are in the abstract, and people don’t get worked up about projects until they are actually proposed for a nearby location.

But to the extent that the survey reflects a rising public appreciation of the link between energy supply and consumption, well, good. Yes, that would be a good thing.

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