Opposing wind energy landscapes: A search for common cause

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214 Scopus citations


Although wind power is local, sustainable, affordable, and carbon free, mounting public opposition to the landscape changes it produces threatens its expansion. In an era when many countries are looking to renewable energy as an answer to questions about national security and the risks of climate change, it is important to explain the sources of this reaction. This article looks for similarities in public resistance to wind developments in four diverse settings: Palm Springs, California; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; the Isle of Lewis, Scotland; and Oaxaca State, Mexico. Despite the natural and cultural diversity among these places, there are five common threads in the opposition that has been experienced: immobility, the site specificity of the resource; immutability, an expectation of landscape permanence; solidarity, the close relationship between people and the land; imposition, a sense of marginalization; and place identity, a loss of security. Considering more deeply the relationship between land and life, in advance of the development of renewable energy resources, will help smooth the otherwise bumpy road toward a more sustainable future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-917
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Landscapes
  • Place
  • Wind energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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