• Local opposition to renewable projects
• The need to negotiate public acceptance
• Developing ‘social control’ of technology
The impacts of renewables are generally much less than those of conventional energy technologies, but there is still a need to negotiate public acceptance. This chapter reviews the wind farm case study and looks at how the debate has continued, with the focus moving on to attempts to ensure that local communities can have more direct involvement with, and benefits from, such projects. Local involvement is vital in that, rather than seeing local concerns as a problem, well-informed criticism might also be seen more positively as an attempt to subject technology to some form of direct social control. After all, one of the alleged benefits of at least some types of renewable energy technology was that they were likely to be more amenable to local democratic control than the preceding large-scale, centralised technologies.
Opposition to technology is not new. There are inevitably fears that new technologies will result in major social or environmental dislocations and sometimes this has proved to be the case. However, the scale of opposition to wind farms has, so far, been trivial in comparison with the opposition that has emerged to nuclear power. The same is true for the other renewables. Even so opposition does exist and in part this is because renewable energy systems tend to be very visible.
This has been a particular problem for wind turbines and the problem has