The Power to Change: A Brief Survey of The Wind Power’s Technological and Societal Potential, Barriers to Use, and Ways Forward

  • Helen Kopnina The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Keywords: climate change, energy transition, NIMBYs, renewable energy, wind power


With the effects of climate change linked to the use of fossil fuels, as well as the prospect of their eventual depletion, becoming more noticeable, political establishment and society appear ready to switch towards using renewable energy. Solar power and wind power are considered to be the most significant source of global low-carbon energy supply. Wind energy continues to expand as it becomes cheaper and more technologically advanced. Yet, despite these expectations and developments, fossil fuels still comprise nine-tenths of the global commercial energy supply. In this article, the history, technology, and politics involved in the production and barriers to acceptance of wind energy will be explored. The central question is why, despite the problems associated with the use of fossil fuels, carbon dependency has not yet given way to the more ecologically benign forms of energy. Having briefly surveyed some literature on the role of political and corporate stakeholders, as well as theories relating to sociological and psychological factors responsible for the grassroots’ resistance (“not in my backyard” or NIMBYs) to renewable energy, the findings indicate that motivation for opposition to wind power varies. While the grassroots resistance is often fueled by the mistrust of the government, the governments’ reason for resisting renewable energy can be explained by their history of a close relationship with the industrial partners. This article develops an argument that understanding of various motivations for resistance at different stakeholder levels opens up space for better strategies for a successful energy transition.