Wind Farm Siting and Protected Areas in Catalonia: Planning Alternatives or Reproducing 'One-Dimensional Thinking'?
Wind energy is an emblem of sustainability with the potential to promote a qualitative alternative to current energy systems and nuclear options for CO 2 reduction. However, wind farm siting often conflicts with aspirations to conserve traditional landscapes and wildlife habitats. In this paper we adopt a Critical Theory perspective, informed by Herbert Marcuse`s work, to study the discourse concerning wind energy siting in Catalonia, Spain. We give particular attention to how tensions between potentially conflicting sustainability objectives are addressed and by whom. Based on a review of this siting discourse and the application of Marcuseâ€™s theory, we find that the Catalan wind energy siting discourse is both influenced by and reproducing what Marcuse referred to as the â€˜one-dimensional thinkingâ€™ of technology as ideology: erasing the possibility of critical dialectical thought by subsuming the question of â€œwhat should beâ€ under the question of â€œwhat isâ€. This has implications both for how these conflicts are investigated and for the sustainability of decisions taken. We conclude that closer attention to the role of â€˜one-dimensional thinkingâ€™ in wind energy siting discourses could improve not only the understanding of their logic but might also have the potential to help make them more democratic.
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