Public engagement with offshore renewable energy: a critical review
Version of Record online: 28 MAR 2014
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Volume 5, Issue 4, pages 493–507, July/August 2014
How to Cite
Wiersma, B. and Devine-Wright, P. (2014), Public engagement with offshore renewable energy: a critical review. WIREs Clim Change, 5: 493–507. doi: 10.1002/wcc.282
- Issue online: 26 JUN 2014
- Version of Record online: 28 MAR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 31 JAN 2014
- Manuscript Received: 15 NOV 2013
- UK Economic and Social Research Council's South West Doctoral Training Centre
- The States of Guernsey's Commerce & Employment Department
Offshore renewable energy, including offshore wind, tidal and wave energy, has sometimes been represented as opposition-free alternatives to controversial technologies such as onshore wind turbines, and has received increasing attention from social scientists in recent years. A fragmented literature has emerged investigating public engagement with these technologies and the determinants of public acceptance, comprising 59 key studies—the majority investigating offshore wind energy (59%). This literature review argues that while the ways in which public actors engage with offshore renewable energy are to some extent similar to onshore energy infrastructure, there are also important differences. These include the generally lower levels of public knowledge about the technologies, a changing role for visual impacts, a fundamentally different, marine, spatial context, and different sets of stakeholders in different decision-making arenas. There is a need to explore as yet unasked and unanswered questions—going beyond ‘established’ variables identified in the onshore wind-based ‘beyond NIMBY’ literature—especially regarding the role of the marine location of these technologies, and the cross-technology and cross-disciplinary applicability of findings. In order to more fully understand public responses to energy infrastructures, future research needs to move beyond case studies of onshore wind developments, adopting more diverse and ambitious research designs and methodologies.
For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.