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A Wind Farm as a Controversial Landscape Phenomenon: A qualitative study of local residents' attitudes towards wind power implementation in their neighborhood
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Wind power is often presented as a technique for energy production with many environmental benefits, especially since it does not emit any carbon dioxide. Most people are generally positive towards wind power. But when a wind farm is to be implemented on a local level, often resistance occurs. This study investigates how and why local perceptions of a wind farm differ. A qualitative method using interviews was chosen, and the focus has been on an area where a wind farm was planned.

The results reveal that advocates have a users’ perspective on nature, while opponents have a conservation perspective. Advocates believe wind power can contribute to a better environment, while opponents believe that preserving natural areas is the best for the environment. Moreover, living in a calm landscape is part of the opponents’ identity, while the identities of the advocates, who often are active farmers, are connected to their ability to live from the land. Thirdly, whether a person recognizes the need for a change towards a renewable energy system or not also matters for the attitude.

According to previous research, a person’s relationship to the landscape is of crucial importance for her/his attitude towards wind power implementation, and this is confirmed in the current study. Research also stresses that the visual impact of wind turbines is usually what creates most resistance, but this is not supported. The roles of information and citizen participation, which previous research found significant, are not confirmed as important either: Both were deficient, but this study cannot determine whether a better managed planning process would have made some of the interviewees more positive to it or not. Definitely, the claims from earlier research that Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) motives are rarely the reason for resistance are supported.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 70 p.
Keyword [en]
wind power, renewable energy, NIMBY, acceptance, user's perspective, conservation perspective, place identity
National Category
Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-33279OAI: diva2:735325
Subject / course
Human Geography
Educational program
Master Programme in Region Building, 120 hp
Available from: 2014-08-20 Created: 2014-07-25 Last updated: 2014-08-20Bibliographically approved

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