Levelling the playing field? The influence of national wind power planning instruments on conflicts of interests in a Swedish county
Slow and complicated wind power planning and permitting procedures have been a large obstacle for wind power diffusion in Sweden and other countries. This paper complements previous siting-oriented literature with a planning perspective on these problems. The focus is two national planning instruments implemented in Sweden in the early 2000s: a national planning target and an appointment of areas of national interest for wind power. The paper identifies different types of conflicts of interest related to wind power - in addition to the conflict between wind power as a national public interest and various local private interests - and analyses the impact of the national planning instruments on the handling of these conflicts in the land-use planning process in the County of Östergötland. The analysis shows that the planning target actually made local planning officials even more inclined to treat wind power as a private rather than a public interest and that the method used to identify areas of national interest of wind power forced wind power to compete with the combined strengths of all other public interest. The planning instruments thus left wind power to fight an uphill battle rather than to meet other interests face-to-face on a level playing field.
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