The problem of windfarm location: A social multi-criteria evaluation framework

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Although wind energy has the green image, the location of windfarms is always a source of local conflicts. Opposition may depend on the extensive land use of windfarms, their possible impacts on tourism or their visual impact, as well as NIMBY (Never In My Back-Yard) behavior. On the other hand, some social actors are normally in favor of wind parks because they perceive them as a possibility of development or simply a source of income. In these situations, the management of the energy policy process involves many layers and kinds of decisions, and requires the construction of a dialogue process among many social actors, individual and collective, formal and informal, local and non-local. This implies that the political and social framework must find a place in evaluation exercises. This is the objective of social multi-criteria evaluation (SMCE). In this article, SMCE is proposed as a general framework for dealing with the problem of wind park location. The major strength of SMCE is the possibility of integrating both socio-economic and technical dimensions inside a coherent framework. A real-world case study is used as an illustrative example. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1564-1583
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • Conflict management
  • Multi-criteria decision analysis
  • Wind energy


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