Counter currents : a case study of wind power resistance at Frøya, Norway
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Wind power development has been widely contested in large parts of the world for reasons ranging from environmental causes to visual noise and lack of co-determination in the licensing process. With an increasing focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Norwegian wind power licenses were given out in an exponential pace starting ten years ago. This was leading to the same dissatisfaction and large-scale opposition from environmental organizations, local communities and the Saami population as in other parts of the world. This thesis uses a qualitative single-case methodology to investigate the underlying reasons for resistance towards wind power development (WPD) and how internal and external mobilizing factors have changed and contributed to the resistance throughout the years at the Norwegian island Frøya. A small group of people gathered in opposition to the plans for a wind park on the island as early as 2002 and has survived to this day. 11 stakeholders with an active role in the case were interviewed for the study: opponents, people with positive attitudes towards WPD, officials from the municipality and political parties working with the case from different periods of the resistance. In order to explore how the resistance to wind power has developed, I use concepts from social movement (SM) studies that have proven to be useful in previous studies of energy siting, with a focus on framing, resources, contentious repertoires and political opportunity. The thesis finds that nature preservation was the main reason for the resistance towards the wind park development and has been formative for both what kind of collaborating partners they got, and what kind of action repertoires they focused on. The findings suggest that the four mobilizing factors were influencing each other, where it was the totality of factors that was decisive for the continued mobilization. In addition to these factors, the analysis also identifies threat and trust as essential mobilizing factors in different periods of the resistance. However, the findings show that the factors were dependent on dedicated individuals to thrive.