|Home » ENVIRONMENT » Social acceptance of wind...|
Wind energy, being a clean and renewable energy source in a global context of increasing social concerns about climate change and energy supply, is traditionally linked to very strong and stable levels of public support. The most recent empirical evidence on public opinion towards wind energy at both the EU and the country level fully supports such favourable perception of this energy source among European citizens. Nevertheless, experience in the implementation of wind projects shows that social acceptance is crucial for the successful development of specific wind energy projects. Thus we should look at the main singularities of the social acceptance of wind energy compared to the social acceptance of other energy technologies:
Consequently, the social acceptance of wind power entails both the general positive attitude towards the wind energy technology together with the increasing number of 'visible' siting decisions to be made at the local level. Importantly, it is at the local level where the 'technical' characteristics of wind energy interact with the everyday life of the individual, and the social and institutional environments of the communities hosting such developments. As we will see, the general positive attitudes towards wind power are not necessarily linked to the local acceptance of wind energy projects (Johansson and Laike, 2007), and there is an increased interest in understanding the different factors underlying public views and reactions to wind energy and wind farm projects (Bel et al., 2005), as well as the role played by all the relevant social and institutional actors involved in the practical development of wind energy.
This is the context in which we find the most recent formulation of the concept of 'social acceptance' linked to renewable energies (Wüstenhagen et al., 2007), the so- called 'triangle model', which distinguishes three key dimensions of social acceptance:
Figure 6.1: The Triangle Model of Social Acceptance
Source: Wüstenhagen et al. (2007)
Interestingly, this ‘triangle model’ works well with the ‘three discourses’ scheme suggested by another recent conceptual approach to the social perception of energy technologies (Prades et al., 2008): the ‘siting discourse’ (where the technology is experienced in terms of a proposed construction of some facility in a given locality); the
‘energy-innovation discourse’ (where the technology is experienced as an innovation that may or may not fit in with preferred ways of life); and the ‘investment discourse’ (where the technology is experienced as an investment opportunity that is acceptable, or otherwise, in the light of the possible gains it will produce). Moreover, this ‘triangle model’ has been proposed as the conceptual framework in a recent task of the International Energy Agency – Wind (Implementing Agreement for Cooperation in the Research, Development and Deployment of Wind Energy Systems) dealing with the social acceptance of wind energy
projects: ‘Winning hearts and minds’ (IEA Wind, 2007).
The next sections will introduce the main findings of the social research with regards to socio-political acceptance (the acceptance of technologies and policies by both the general public and key stakeholders and policymakers) and community acceptance (the acceptance of specific projects at the local level). Other volumes of this publication, in particular Volume 3 (Economies of Wind Power) and Volume 4 (Industry and Markets address issues related to Market Acceptance, such as prices and support mechanisms (typed of support mechanism and evolution of the different instruments in the EU-27; effectiveness of the different support schemes etc.); or wind industry actors and investment trends (key player positioning, and administrative and grid-access barriers).
|Acknowledgements | Sitemap | Partners | Disclaimer | Contact|
The sole responsibility for the content of this webpage lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Communities. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that maybe made of the information contained therein.