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Wind power implementation: The nature of public attitudes: Equity and fairness instead of 'backyard motives'


  • Wolsink, Maarten


Public attitudes anywhere in Europe show moderate to strong support for the implementation of renewable energy. Nevertheless, planning wind power developments appears to be a complicated matter in most countries. The problems that have to be dealt with during decision making processes on the siting of wind turbines are usually referred to as mere 'communication problems'. However, public attitudes towards wind power are fundamentally different from attitudes towards wind farms. This 'gap' causes misunderstandings about the nature of public support for renewables. In particular where planners easily assume support for renewables can be generated by information campaigns emphasising the environmental benefits, whereas opposition to renewable energy schemes can be explained by a selfish 'not in my backyard' attitude. Both explanations used by planners, authorities and, unfortunately, by many scholars, are falsified. Furthermore, policies that still take this 'common knowledge' for granted can have negative consequences for the implementation rates of renewables. Visual evaluation of the impact of wind power on landscape values is by far the dominant factor in explaining why some are opposed to wind power and others are supporting it. Moreover, feelings about equity and fairness appear the determinants of 'backyard' motives, instead of selfishness.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolsink, Maarten, 2007. "Wind power implementation: The nature of public attitudes: Equity and fairness instead of 'backyard motives'," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 1188-1207, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:11:y:2007:i:6:p:1188-1207

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maarten Wolsink, 2004. "Policy Beliefs in Spatial Decisions: Contrasting Core Beliefs Concerning Space-making for Waste Infrastructure," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 41(13), pages 2669-2690, December.
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    3. Bolinger, Mark A., 2005. "Making European-style community wind power development work in the US," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 9(6), pages 556-575, December.
    4. Maarten Wolsink, 2003. "Reshaping the Dutch Planning System: A Learning Process?," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 35(4), pages 705-723, April.
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    8. Toke, Dave, 2005. "Explaining wind power planning outcomes:: some findings from a study in England and Wales," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1527-1539, August.
    9. Kahn, Robert D., 2000. "Siting Struggles: The Unique Challenge of Permitting Renewable Energy Power Plants," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 21-33, March.
    10. Faulin, Javier & Lera, Fernando & Pintor, Jesus M. & Garcia, Justo, 2006. "The outlook for renewable energy in Navarre: An economic profile," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(15), pages 2201-2216, October.
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