Facts, Hacks and Turbines: Media Analysis of Irish Wind Energy

Geraint Ellis, Karen Jenkinson, Susana Batel

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Wind energy projects face increasing opposition from host communities throughout the western world. Governments have responded in a range of ways, including enhanced local control over consenting (England), reform of planning regulations (Australia) or community ownership (Denmark). However, there is no effective mechanism for monitoring levels of social acceptance and thus, no means of evaluating the effectiveness of these approaches. There have been attempts to understand how social framing of wind energy in the media (e.g. Van de Velde et al 2010, Barry and Ellis, 2008, Hindmarsh 2014), highlighting how this changes over time. However, no research has focussed on Ireland and critically, none have examined whether this can help monitor overall levels of social acceptance. In order to explore this, this paper will present a media analysis of wind energy in the Republic of Ireland, which witnessed a rapid increase in wind energy capacity and has the highest energy penetration of wind in the world (19%). However, this has been accompanied by increasing public opposition and (assumed) declining levels of social acceptance.

This paper will describe the results of analysing over 8000 articles on wind energy that have appeared in three Irish newspapers. These are assessed through historical-diachronic (over time) and comparative –synchronic (differences between newspapers) analyses (Carvalho 2007) to highlight changing trends in framing wind energy and changing concerns over wind energy in Ireland. The paper will consider whether such media analysis could form a tool for monitoring the trends in social acceptance of wind energy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2016
EventAmerican Association of American Geographers 2016 Annual Meeting - San Fransisco, United States
Duration: 29 Mar 201602 Apr 2016


ConferenceAmerican Association of American Geographers 2016 Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Fransisco
Internet address


  • wind energy
  • Ireland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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