If wind power development is thought to contribute to climate emission reduction and energy transitions, there is a need to understand why renewable energy ideals meet local opposition, and if alternative policy frameworks and more democratic planning practices could improve policy legitimacy – and as such social acceptability of wind power development.
Wind power development is highly conflictual and Norway is lagging behind other countries. Existing and increasingly hierarchical governance responses have not been able to answer these challenges. On the contrary international research indicates that increased hierarchical steering may themselves have been part of the conflict. The dilemma thereby appears as a contradiction between high governmental support for renewable energy and local opposition and rejection of proposed projects. Despite the scale of the problem, there is a lack of in-depth knowledge on public acceptance and opinions of wind power in current Norwegian social research.
The aim of WINDPLAN is to broaden our understanding of current wind power development conflicts in Norway. The study critically explores current wind power development in Norway between policies, planning rationalities and local community understandings, and analyzes how existing arenas for public participation are framed, filled, opened and closed in national policy discourses and in actual case studies of wind power planning. To understand the dynamics of social acceptability, the project learns from policy development in EU, UK and DK as well as case studies in Denmark and Scotland where different policy trajectories and experimental approaches to wind power development have developed high social acceptability. The findings form basis for a collaborative research dialogue workshop with policy-makers developers, local officials and citizens from DK, Scotland and Norway exploring new potential conceptual models for public participation in Norwegian wind power development.