Complexities of Energy Transition:What do we really know about social acceptance of wind energy?

Geraint Ellis, Gianluca Ferraro

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

15 Downloads (Pure)


This paper provides a critical review of 20 years of research on social acceptance of wind energy. This field of research has evolved in conceptual and methodological complexity and encompassed a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, including geography, psychology, economics, political science and spatial planning. This has been able to provide substantial insights into the factors that drive community concerns about wind energy, including regulatory processes, project design, siting, ownership and community benefit issues. While deepening our understanding and suggestive of a few arenas for improving practice (such as enhanced community engagement), wind energy projects continue to face local opposition in many varied contexts. Indeed, in many countries, community concerns now define the limiting factor to this energy technology – so why has this research not been able to significantly influence the trajectory of social acceptance?

The paper will explore this question by briefly reviewing the state and scope of social acceptance research, explaining progress in conceptual development and highlighting the problems related to how social acceptance has been defined. It will comment on the research designs and methodological approaches that have come to dominate the field., such as the prevalence of isolated case studies. On the basis of this review, the paper will highlight some of the limitations of the research and suggest why this may have a muted impact on actual levels of social acceptance. To conclude, the paper will set out a number of ways in which we could respond to this situation through: research design; challenging the way we have conceptually and contextually framed social acceptance; and enhancing knowledge exchange with a wide range of the stakeholders involved in the deployment of wind energy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2017
EventThe Association of European Schools of Planning Annual Congress - Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 11 Jul 201714 Jul 2017


ConferenceThe Association of European Schools of Planning Annual Congress
Abbreviated titleAESOP


  • renewable energy
  • transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


Dive into the research topics of 'Complexities of Energy Transition:What do we really know about social acceptance of wind energy?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this