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 Science, The Netherlands


With the effects of climate change linked to the use of fossil fuels becoming more noticeable, political establishment and society appear ready for renewable energy. Yet, despite these expectations, fossil fuels still comprise nine-tenths of the global commercial energy supply. In this article, the history, technology, and barriers to acceptance of wind energy will be explored. The central question is why, despite the problems associated with the fossil fuels, more ecologically benign energy is still scarcely used. Having briefly surveyed some literature on the role of political and corporate stakeholders, as well as theories relating to 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 and understanding the role of democracy in decision-making opens up space for better strategies for a successful energy transition.

Original Papers