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As shown in this chapter, social research linked to wind energy developments has increased in the last few years, and such efforts have allowed a better understanding of the complexity and ultidimensionality underlying the social acceptance of wind energy. Thus social research in the wind energy field has allowed the characterisation of factors explaining success or failure of wind developments. A general typology of factors involved has been proposed:

  • Factors related to the technical characteristics of the technology (physical and environmental characteristics of the site and technical attributes of wind energy);
  • Factors related to the individual and collective profile of the community hosting such technology  psycho-social factors); and
  • Factors related to the interaction between technology and society (social and institutional factors).


In this sense, and in order to capture the wide range of factors involved in the development of wind energy, we have provided a more complete formulation of the concept of ‘social acceptance’. Three key dimensions have been identified: community acceptance (‘the siting discourse’), market acceptance (‘the investment discourse’) and socio-political acceptance (‘the energy-innovation discourse’). Future research needs to focus on these different dimensions as well as how they interact. In terms of socio-political acceptance, special attention should be paid to the development and implementation of suitable financial instruments and fair planning policies. In terms of community acceptance, proper institutional  arrangements (including a comprehensive consideration of landscape issues) that could support trust-building processes also require further efforts. Methodological and conceptual improvements, integrated frameworks, and the evaluation of a citizen engagement process will be key elements in the social research on wind energy in the coming years.

A proper consideration of this wide range of issues may provide significant insights to a more evidence-based decision-making process on wind energy developments. There are no recipes to manage social acceptance on technological issues, but more precise knowledge may help promoters and authorities learn from past experiences and find mechanisms to improve citizen engagement with wind energy development.

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