Social acceptance is central in many debates surrounding energy projects. Wind energy, in particular, has been described as a ‘learning laboratory’ in terms of social acceptance of energy projects. It has given way to a socio-technical paradox: the social dimension has become a factor of equal importance to technology in the wind farms implementation. Based on a literature review concerned with the social acceptance of wind energy, the paper seeks to demonstrate both the richness and the limits of the key concepts that inform the ongoing work of scholars. By doing so, we intend to emphasise the complex processes underneath in order to then elaborate a conceptual definition of social acceptability. Various modulations and limits that characterise current thinking are thus underlined. We then propose a grid analysis relying on a territorial perspective. It is structured around three levels that connect micro-social, meso-political and macro-economic processes.