The relative importance of social and institutional conditions in the planning of wind power projects

S. Agterbosch, R.M. Meertens, W.J.V. Vermeulen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Governments around the world try to stimulate the development and use of renewable energy technologies, like wind energy. While wind turbines are increasingly being implemented, however, a lack of social acceptance at the local level remains an important challenge for developers of wind power plants. This article aims to explore the relative importance of social and institutional conditions and their interdependencies in the operational process of planning wind power schemes. The article not only focuses on how negative local social conditions can frustrate public policy (cf. NIMBY syndrome), but also on how positive local social conditions can compensate for a negative public policy framework. We analyzed the cases of implementing wind power of two actors (the regional energy distributor and small private investors) in the municipality of Zeewolde, the Netherlands. Both cases illustrate that the formal institutional framework (formal rules, procedures and instruments) is neutral in a certain sense. Social conditions – management styles, interests and informal contacts – put meaning in this framework. The way stakeholders deal with the prevailing institutional structure clarifies social acceptance and therewith implementation.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)393-405
Number of pages13
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Cite this