Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2023-174
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2023-174
17 Jan 2024
 | 17 Jan 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

Grand Challenges in Social Aspects of Wind Energy Development

Lena Kitzing, David Rudolph, Sophie Nyborg, Helena Solman, Tom Cronin, Gundula Hübner, Elizabeth Gill, Katherine Dykes, Suzanne Tegen, and Julia Kirch Kirkegaard

Abstract. Social aspects are gaining traction in wind energy research. Increasing local opposition to wind energy projects is just one symptom of deeper-rooted challenges in the further expansion of the technology. A recent publication by Kirkegaard et al. (2023a) lays out the grand challenges related to the complex interactions between society and wind energy technology and outlines a research agenda for wind energy research from a socio-technical perspective. This article discusses these challenges in the context of a more technologically focused research audience. We begin by describing the role of social sciences in wind energy research, arguing for the diverse set of insights, research topics, and value that they can add, going beyond outdated concepts of social acceptance (such as NIMBY), and providing solutions for public engagement and planning processes, just ownership structures and value-based design. We discuss social grand challenges in five areas: (1) Project planning & spatial relations, (2) Wind turbine design & scalability, (3) Grid integration, roles & responsibilities, (4) General public perception of the technology, (5) Energy policy to support system transformation. We conclude by reflecting how social sciences and technical sciences can be better integrated to jointly advance wind energy research into a new interdisciplinary era that is able to provide holistic solutions for a transition to carbon-neutrality.

Lena Kitzing, David Rudolph, Sophie Nyborg, Helena Solman, Tom Cronin, Gundula Hübner, Elizabeth Gill, Katherine Dykes, Suzanne Tegen, and Julia Kirch Kirkegaard

Status: open (until 09 Mar 2024)

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Lena Kitzing, David Rudolph, Sophie Nyborg, Helena Solman, Tom Cronin, Gundula Hübner, Elizabeth Gill, Katherine Dykes, Suzanne Tegen, and Julia Kirch Kirkegaard
Lena Kitzing, David Rudolph, Sophie Nyborg, Helena Solman, Tom Cronin, Gundula Hübner, Elizabeth Gill, Katherine Dykes, Suzanne Tegen, and Julia Kirch Kirkegaard

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Short summary
Social aspects are gaining traction in wind energy. A recent publication by Kirkegaard et al. lays out social grand challenges. We discuss them for a more technologically focused audience. We describe the role of social sciences in wind energy research, showing insights, topics, and value-added for public engagement and planning, just ownership and value-based design. We reflect how social and technical sciences can jointly advance wind energy research into a new interdisciplinary era.
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