Wind Energy 101: Part Four

Answering Wind Energy Critics

Read all of Wind Energy 101: Part One: Harvesting Electricity from the Wind, Part Two: Wind Energy & Our Economy, Part Three: Wind Energy & The Environment, Part Four: Answering Wind Energy Critics, & Part Five: Wind Energy Myths & Facts

If you share content from Electric Nation, you may already have had Facebook friends leave negative comments about wind energy. Many times, opposition to wind and other renewables comes from misinformation or misunderstanding.

As a fan of wind energy, you're the perfect person to help counter myths and share reliable information. In the information environment we live in today, a friend or relative is often more persuasive than an industry expert! Your own authentic opinion, based on facts, matters.

We encourage Electric Nation members to be hubs for good, factual information about wind energy. How you counter critics is just as important as the facts themselves, though. Here are some tips for handling critics, whether online or at the holiday dinner table:

Be Polite

Someone may try to get under your skin, but being rude in return will rarely change their mind for the better. Take the high road! Be polite and factual, and keep in mind that other people are watching, whether you're in person or on social media. Even if you don't persuade a critic directly, you may influence other friends and family who are listening to the conversation. A sense of humor can open doors that a harsh comment may slam shut.

Don't Make It Personal

Stick to the facts, and don't say anything mean or hurtful about critics themselves. That's one of the fastest ways for a conversation to spiral into something ugly.

Think about Shared Values

The key to any effective argument is leading with the facts most persuasive to the intended audience. And it’s usually easier to reach someone when you talk about wind energy in terms of values that the two of you share. For example, wind energy reduces pollution, employs 100,000 Americans, pumps money into rural economies, and helps America’s energy independence. Which of these benefits might your friend or relative see as the most significant, based on what they care about?

Think of the Big Picture

Wind energy is good for the planet! Try to focus on the big role wind is already playing in our economy as well as its promise for the future.

Try to Find Out Why Someone's a Critic

If it's not obvious, try to get at what about wind energy bothers a critic. Then you can point them to specific facts and links that might help persuade them.

Don't Feed the Trolls

Sometimes someone's just trying to get a rise out of you -- they WANT you to get mad, and they're hating on wind energy to do it. In that case, it's best to just state the facts and move on. Getting into a back-and-forth won't persuade them, and it's likely to leave you frustrated and angry. Don't let them get to you!

State the Facts

The facts about wind energy are persuasive in themselves, and here are a few to get you started:

  • The cost of electricity from wind has dropped by two-thirds since 2009, due to improving technology and economies of scale
  • Wind employs over 100,000 people in the U.S., including 25,000 in manufacturing jobs
  • More than half of the components of a typical turbine are Made In The USA
  • Almost all wind turbines are located on private land, and wind delivered $245 million in lease payments to local landowners in 2016 alone
  • 71% of the counties with wind farms are low-income, and wind energy is an important source of local tax revenue
  • Wind takes the place of other forms of energy production (mainly fossil fuels) that pollute the air and emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide
  • The fuel is free!