Wind Acceptance Research (WAR) Systematic Review Data

Published: 1 November 2021| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/zdhkbz6x2d.3
Douglas Bessette


The number of studies examining social and community acceptance of wind energy in the US and Canada has increased considerably since the late 1980s. The data archived here contributed to a methodological review of this wind acceptance research (WAR) literature, particularly in response to three articles previously published in Energy Research & Social Science. These include a recent synthesis of WAR by Joe Rand and Ben Hoen (2017) recommending better incorporation of WAR results into development practices and comparability of WAR case studies; an investigation by Kathryn Walsh (2020) and colleagues into potential research fatigue in the related field of unconventional oil and gas development research, and finally a call by Benjamin Sovacool and others (2014, 2018) to increase the theoretical depth and reflection in energy social science. Using a systematic review of 111 WAR articles and a follow-up online survey of 40 corresponding authors, we investigated the location of WAR study sites in the US and Canada, the variety and success of different WAR designs and incentives used, the disciplines and theories dominating current WAR, and finally dissemination practices. Our results suggest that research fatigue is unlikely, yet WAR remains concentrated and in locations distant from the highest installed capacity, and focuses on communities and projects that tend to be novel, controversial, or unique to a specific region. We also find that most WAR lacks an underlying theory, and we conclude by recommending greater qualitative analysis of study site selection criteria, greater integration of existing WAR theories, and greater integration of WAR with solar acceptance research. Finally, we urge wind acceptance researchers to ensure and communicate a clear purpose, value and financial benefit to WAR participants and stakeholders and meaningfully consider the broader community contexts examined. This dataset only includes information obtained via the systematic review. It does not, per IRB guidance, include results from the Corresponding Author Survey.


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We performed a systematic review of the WAR literature, targeting studies that examined residents, government officials and developers’ perspectives, attitudes, support, opposition, values, beliefs, or responses (collectively referred to as acceptance) toward wind energy in the US and Canada. Our review relied on Rand & Hoen’s (2017) bibliography and an Internet search of the Web of Science and Scopus databases. Papers were sought from all years up to December 31st, 2020, using a keyword search including [“acceptance,” OR “perception,” OR “attitudes,” OR “support,” OR “opposition,” OR “public,” OR “residents,” OR “stakeholders”] AND [“wind” OR “wind energy,” OR “wind farms,” OR “onshore wind,” OR “offshore wind”]. In total, 197 studies were identified with 111 of those relying on information obtained directly from participants. These included 105 journal articles, 3 dissertations, and 3 theses. In order to be included in our review, researchers must have collected qualitative or quantitative data from human participants about their acceptance of onshore or offshore utility-scale wind energy. Additionally, wind energy must be the primary energy system investigated, opposed to being one of several different renewable energy systems. Systematic reviews, technical reports, economic analyses, and studies conducted outside of the US or Canada were not considered. Each study was analyzed and the following information was recorded: i) the location of the study, ii) data collection method(s), iii) target population(s), iv) response number(s) and rate(s), v) participant incentives, vi) explicit supporting theory(ies), and vii) method(s) of dissemination (if listed). These variables were coded for reoccurring themes and quantified for reporting purposes.


Social Sciences Methods, Wind, Public Acceptance, Energy Development