The successful transition towards renewable energy (RE) technologies is closely intertwined with various societal aspects. Wind energy (WE) is one of the most controversial RE-types, possibly due to the multiplicity of related public concerns. Although some European country-comparisons exist, research concerning acceptance factors in different political and cultural planning contexts is scarce, especially in Eastern and Southern Europe. This paper explores the variation of (1) acceptance issues across Europe, and (2) patterns of strategic and local planning in affecting WE acceptance. We conducted an expert survey among the members of the COST Action ‘Renewable Energy and Landscape Quality’ and the association Wind Energy Europe. We found that acceptance issues – as perceived by the experts – across different regions in Europe share certain similarities, such as concerns about landscape impacts. The priority-levels of acceptance issues are specific to each region and link to the planning quality in that context. Planners’ and decision-makers’ increased awareness about the diversity of acceptance issues would allow them to design more appropriate strategic and local planning processes.
- We conducted an expert survey about wind energy resistancein planning.
- Resistance links to planning quality in four supra-national European regions.
- Landscape encroachment is a major reason for resistance in most European regions.
- Lack of social justice ranks high in East- and South-Europe.
- Comprehensive strategic planning potentially reduces problems with resistance.