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Accepted Paper:

Conflicts about a local wind energy project - Emergence,causes and impact  
Ulrike Fettke (Universit├Ąt Stuttgart)

Paper short abstract:

A case study of a project in northern Bavaria illustrates the conflicts, that can occur within the realization of a wind energy project, and their causes and impacts.

Paper long abstract:

In Germany, wind power is an increasingly used technology for energy production. Although recent surveys find a high public approval of the "Energiewende" policy (i.a. AEE, Allensbach, Greenpeace), there are often protests against wind energy plants. But why do these conflicts occur? The Sociological Approach of Strategic Action Fields views the conflicts as integral parts of a process of mobilization in which actors enforce their vision of the field (Fligstein/McAdam 2011/2012).

A case study of a wind energy project in the north of Bavaria confirmes, that the process of a wind energy project's realization can be full of conflicts. The project's realization was characterised by conflicts within and among groups of field actors. At first, there were conflicts within the initiative of local citizens, who pushed the project in order to avoid the local installation of wind turbines by a wind power project company. Later, the citizens' initiative and a self-appointed counter-initiative, the later supported by citizens from neighbouring communities, engaged in a dispute. When the local council decided to designate land for wind power, the counter-initiative protested. The case study reveals, that the conflicts within local groups had conducive effects on the project's realization. Conflicts among the groups of local citizens were rather inhibiting. In contrast, conflicts among groups of local citizens and external actors had a conducive effect. Additionally, a detailed comparison of the different conflicts illustrates, that wind turbines served as a trigger but are far from being the only cause of the local conflicts.

Panel T046
New Technologies, social practices and social conflict - sustainable energy transitions as a field of contention
  Session 1 Saturday 3 September, 2016, -