Time-space dynamics of perceptions and attitudes to wind energy developments: The landscape dominance, U-curve and proximity hypotheses revisited

Authors: Bohumil Frantal*, Palacky University Olomouc
Topics: Energy, Environmental Perception, Planning Geography
Keywords: wind energy, perceptions, social acceptance, proximity hypothesis, Czech Republic
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Galerie 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The perceptions of and attitudes to wind turbines are dynamic, spatially and socially shaped phenomena. Visual impact on the landscape seemed to be the dominant force behind local opposition. And the proximity hypothesis assumed those living nearer to wind turbines are likely to be more negative in comparison to those living further away. The ‘before and after wind turbine’ studies suggested that attitudes usually develop along a U-shaped curve (the experience with turbines increases positive views through familiarity and exposure over time). We present results of a long-term survey of local communities living in the Czech Republic in areas with operational wind farms implemented in 2005–2010. We explore the development of perceptions in time, the spatial and social asymmetries of positive and negative impacts, and factors of acceptance (of prior projects⤍future develoment⤍repowering projects). The results suggest there is no generalised U-shaped development of attitudes over time. Attitudes and acceptance curves are more complex, multi-layered and nuanced depending on the spatial scale and individual areas of concern including perceptions of visual impact, noise, change in property prices, local economic benefits. More negative impacts and lower acceptance are reported from neighbouring municipalities where the wind turbines can be seen but do not derive any economic benefit from them (reverse proximity effect). The paper is output of the COST Action RELY (TU1401, H2020) and project “Exploring social-spatial diffusion of renewable energy projects in the CR: lessons for adaptive governance of energy transition” (GA CR, No.16-04483S).

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