In the last decades, the debate on renewable energy has received international attention. In the European countries, several wind energy projects encounter objections and protests from the neighbouring population of wind farm sites. This study aims to understand the drivers of this obstructive behaviour suggesting the main issues to discuss for adequate regulatory strategies to promote at community level. The novelty of this study is that for the first time, qualitative – Focus Group – and quantitative – Optimized-Analytic Hierarchy Process and Monte Carlo simulation – approaches, are used synergistically to support the view of a social acceptance to wind energy. In particular, the analysis focuses on: i) People’s perception of wind energy in a context of public engagement; ii) Assessment of the factors affecting a wind farm; iii) Differences occurring in people’s perception living nearby or far from wind farms. Main results suggest a general critical attitude due to misinformation and lack of transparency of governmental institutions. Moreover, the density of turbines, dismantling process and impacts on landscape and ecosystems need particular attention. Finally, our results show that the distance to wind farms would not sensibly affect the social acceptance across groups of stakeholders.