Working Paper Series in Production and Energy No. 54
Legitimacy is a crucial factor determining the success of technologies in the early stages of development and for maintaining resource flows as well as public and political support across the technology life cycle. In sustainability transitions that unfold over long periods of time, the maintenance of legitimacy of technologies identified as vital for sustainability becomes a key challenge. In the energy sector, wind power contributes to the transition to an energy system with low greenhouse gas emissions. In Germany, wind power recently faced a series of lawsuits and decreasing investment activity. Therefore, we assess the legitimacy of wind power in Germany by analyzing newspaper articles from four national newspapers from 2009 to 2018. A large amount of articles motivates the use of topic models and statistical methods to shed light on the changing alignment of wind power with its context. The results show that various issues temporarily gain prominence on the agenda. Lately, the legitimacy of wind power in Germany is increasingly challenged by adverse effects on humans, animals, and landscapes. Policymakers and project developers may address aspects of pragmatic legitimacy, such as civic participation and the local distribution of profits.
Technology legitimacy wind power Germany structural topic model natural language processing text mining