Social contention in Denmark over alternative wind power development paths

Sophie Nyborg, Julia Kirch Kirkegaard, Laura Tolnov Clausen, Michael Søgaard Jørgensen, David Philipp Rudolph

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Abstract

Through a case-study on the development of a contested wind farm project in the Northern part of Jutland in Denmark, this paper builds on an STS-approach to shed light on the contested acceptability of wind farm development, which has produced controversy and social contention over energy justice.
Wind energy projects on land in Denmark are increasingly subject to social contention. Research and policy are mostly directed towards understanding how 'public acceptance' of current market-driven ways of wind power development can be supported and less on exploring the potentiality of alternative paths or understanding processes of coalition formation and reasons for social contention that underlie socio-technical controversies over sustainable transitions. In this paper, we draw on case-study research, inquiring into the contested translation of a Danish wind farm site in the rural area of Nørrekær Enge in Jutland. The paper traces protracted negotiations between a large energy company acting as wind farm developer who bought up dwellings to make space for extending an existing wind farm, land-owners, a farmers' association, and municipalities, as well as with an emergent coalition of citizens and a humanitarian foundation, which proposed an alternative locally owned project. Combining ANT with theories of place attachment (TPA) and theory of the Commons, we map the unfolding controversy, which entails struggles over what entities should be included in and excluded from the project and over energy justice. Through this theoretical lens, we illuminate the contested 'acceptability' of wind energy, contributing to STS-literature, as the paper sheds light on cognitive frames and diversity of interests in 'just' development of wind power. In turn, this opens up for disentangling potential ways in which wind energy is part of Denmark's future energy system and societal development, including aspects of ownership, distribution of economic benefits and contribution to local development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event4S/EASST Conference 2016 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 31 Aug 20163 Sep 2016
http://www.sts2016bcn.org/

Conference

Conference4S/EASST Conference 2016
Country/TerritorySpain
CityBarcelona
Period31/08/201603/09/2016
Internet address

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