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Wind energy

In the context of renewable energy development, wind energy has become the most dynamic (in terms of installed capacity and spatial diffusion) and also the most controversial (in terms of causing land use and social conflicts). The implementation of wind energy projects is not determined just by objective, physical-geographical and infrastructural conditions of specific areas (wind resources, nature and landscape protection limits, transmission grid capacity, etc.), but also by political-institutional and socioeconomic factors which affect the level of social acceptance by key stakeholders entering the "games" of planning and decision-making processes. Perceptions of and attitudes to wind turbines are dynamic, spatially and socially shaped phenomena. Visual impact on the landscape seemed to be the dominant force behind local opposition. And the proximity hypothesis assumed those living nearer to wind turbines are likely to be more negative in comparison to those living further away. The "before and after wind turbine" studies suggested that attitudes usually develop along a U-shaped curve - the experience with turbines increases positive views through familiarity and exposure over time. We realized long-term comparative surveys of local communities living in areas with operating wind farms. We explored the development of perceptions in time (pre-construction ? post-construction ? after several years), the spatial and social asymmetries of positive/negative impacts, and factors of acceptance (of prior projects ? future development ? repowering projects). The results suggest there is no generalised U-shaped development of attitudes over time. Attitudes and acceptance curves are more complex, multi-layered and nuanced depending on the spatial scale and individual areas of concern including perceptions of visual impact, noise, change in property prices, local economic benefits, etc. More negative impacts and lower acceptance are reported from neighbouring municipalities where the wind turbines can be seen but do not derive any economic benefit from them (reverse proximity effect).

Publications
  • Frantal, B., Bevk, T., Van Veelen, B., Harmanescu, M., & Benediktsson, K. (2017). The importance of on-site evaluation for placing renewable energy in the landscape: A case study of the Burfell wind farm (Iceland). Moravian Geographical Reports, 25(4), 234-247.
  • Frantal, B., Van der Horst, D., Kunc, J., & Janurova, M. (2017). Landscape disruption or just a lack of economic benefits? Exploring factors behind the negative perceptions of wind turbines. Tajokologiai Lapok (Hungarian Journal of Landscape Ecology), 13(2), 139-147.
  • Frantal, B. (2015). Have local government and public expectations of wind energy project benefits been met? Implications for repowering schemes. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 17(2), 217-236. (IF (2015) = 1.745; Q2 in Environmental Studies).
  • Frantal, B., & Kunc, J. (2011). Wind turbines in tourism landscapes: Czech experience. Annals of Tourism Research, 38(2), 499-519. (IF (2011) = 3.259; Q1 in Sociology, Q1 in Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism)
  • Frantal, B., & Kunc, J. (2010). Factors of the uneven regional development of wind energy projects (a case of the Czech Republic). Geograficky Casopis/Geographical Journal (Slovak), 62(3), 183-201.
  • Frantal, B., & Kucera, P. (2009). Impacts of the operation of wind turbines as perceived by residents in concerned areas. Moravian Geographical Reports, 17(2), 34-45.