The landrush of wind energy, its socio-material workings, and its political consequences: On the entanglement of land and wind assemblages in Denmark

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Abstract

Challenges of deploying wind farms on land are often associated with the notion of local acceptance. For developers, however, the socio-material practicalities of identifying appropriate sites and gaining access to land for building large wind farms has become an increasingly challenging endeavour. This paper illustrates how the commodification of wind energy cannot happen without the assetisation of land. Dis-assembling the valuation processes around the entangled wind-and-land assemblage, the paper casts a critical light on how calculative devices have helped to make land and wind into discrete, marketable, assets, accelerating a “landrush” for access to scarce land. The landrush, in turn, has co-produced opaque and clandestine developer practices of acquiring access to privately-owned land to secure a viable investment. The paper argues that these developer practices result in an erosion of the participatory merits of planning and marginalise the role of local host communities, while elevating the significance of private landowners. Based on an assemblage lens founded in Science & Technology Studies (STS) and interviews conducted with a variety of stakeholders in Denmark, the paper concludes by discussing the implications of narrowed public participation in the entangled wind-land assemblage for energy justice. We argue for further inquiries into the assetisation of land for renewables and the associated “sterilisation” of resources in this process, while pointing to the potential for cross-fertilising critical perspectives from human geography with analytical tools from STS for future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Politics and Space
Volume41
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)548-566
Number of pages19
ISSN2399-6544
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Assetination
  • Land-and-wind assemblage
  • Development practices
  • Expert-and-lay
  • Energy justice

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