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Blowing against the wind--An exploratory application of actor network theory to the analysis of local controversies and participation processes in wind energy

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  • Jolivet, Eric
  • Heiskanen, Eva

Abstract

This paper analyses the deployment of wind power and the related local controversies using actor-network theory (ANT). ANT provides conceptual instruments for a fine-tuned analysis of the contingencies that condition a project's success or failure by focusing on the micro-decisions that intertwine the material aspects of the technology, the site where it is implemented, the participation process, and the social relations in which they are embedded. By considering controversies as alternative efforts of competing networks of actors to 'frame' the reality and enroll others, ANT sheds light on the complex and political nature of planning a wind farm project, insofar as it consist in aligning material and human behaviours into a predictable scenario. 'Overflows' occur when actors do not conform to expectations, adopt conflicting positions and develop their own interpretations of the project, thus obliging designers to adapt their frames and change their plans. To demonstrate this framework, we apply it to the case of a wind farm project in the South of France, near Albi. Our analysis suggests a new approach to examining wind power projects in terms of the interaction between globally circulating technologies, unique characteristics of the site, the participation process and the social dynamics that emerge when these are combined.

Suggested Citation

  • Jolivet, Eric & Heiskanen, Eva, 2010. "Blowing against the wind--An exploratory application of actor network theory to the analysis of local controversies and participation processes in wind energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6746-6754, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:11:p:6746-6754
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Carmel Anderson & Jacki Schirmer & Norman Abjorensen, 2012. "Exploring CCS community acceptance and public participation from a human and social capital perspective," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 17(6), pages 687-706, August.
    2. Kaldellis, J.K. & Apostolou, D. & Kapsali, M. & Kondili, E., 2016. "Environmental and social footprint of offshore wind energy. Comparison with onshore counterpart," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 543-556.
    3. Landeta-Manzano, Beñat & Arana-Landín, Germán & Calvo, Pilar M. & Heras-Saizarbitoria, Iñaki, 2018. "Wind energy and local communities: A manufacturer’s efforts to gain acceptance," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 314-324.
    4. Anshelm, Jonas & Simon, Haikola, 2016. "Power production and environmental opinions – Environmentally motivated resistance to wind power in Sweden," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1545-1555.
    5. Borch, Kristian, 2018. "Mapping value perspectives on wind power projects: The case of the danish test centre for large wind turbines," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 251-258.
    6. Vallecha, H. & Bhola, P., 2019. "Sustainability and replicability framework: Actor network theory based critical case analysis of renewable community energy projects in India," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 194-208.
    7. Yin, Yao, 2013. "An analysis of empirical cases of community wind in Oregon," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 54-73.
    8. Nadaï, Alain & Labussière, Olivier, 2017. "Landscape commons, following wind power fault lines. The case of Seine-et-Marne (France)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 807-816.
    9. van der Schoor, Tineke & Scholtens, Bert, 2015. "Power to the people: Local community initiatives and the transition to sustainable energy," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 666-675.
    10. Zolfagharian, Mohammadreza & Walrave, Bob & Raven, Rob & Romme, A. Georges L., 2019. "Studying transitions: Past, present, and future," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(9), pages 1-1.
    11. Groth, Theresa M. & Vogt, Christine, 2014. "Residents' perceptions of wind turbines: An analysis of two townships in Michigan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 251-260.
    12. Yalçın-Riollet, Melike & Garabuau-Moussaoui, Isabelle & Szuba, Mathilde, 2014. "Energy autonomy in Le Mené: A French case of grassroots innovation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 347-355.
    13. Axsen, Jonn & Orlebar, Caroline & Skippon, Stephen, 2013. "Social influence and consumer preference formation for pro-environmental technology: The case of a U.K. workplace electric-vehicle study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 96-107.
    14. Aaen, Sara Bjørn & Kerndrup, Søren & Lyhne, Ivar, 2016. "Beyond public acceptance of energy infrastructure: How citizens make sense and form reactions by enacting networks of entities in infrastructure development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 576-586.

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