Institutional acceptance of wildlife mitigation technologies for wind energy: The case of Israel

Adi Cohen, Itay Fischhendler, David Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the existing literature on the acceptability of renewable energy focuses primarily on stated preferences of individual acceptance, this study focuses on a socio-political dimension of acceptance by examining revealed preferences as evidenced by stakeholder interactions with in a regulatory process. Specifically, we examine the acceptability of technology designed to mitigate harm to wildlife: a Shutdown On Demand (SOD) technology. Taking a longitudinal approach, we review planning protocols covering four years of negotiations over this new mitigating technology in the case of a proposed wind farm to be located along a major international corridor for migrating birds. We develop three separate indicators of institutional acceptance and demonstrate how exposure to different types of uncertainties influenced acceptance of the technology over time. We also show how various responses to these uncertainties can resolve gridlocks around institutional acceptance. The study offers insights into the development of negotiations strategies for different stakeholders over time. It also offers recommendations for policy designed to resolve issues inhibiting institutional acceptance, including data gathering and exchange, issue linkage strategies, and incremental regime building.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113359
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Much of the existing literature on social acceptance of renewable energy technologies in general, and wind power in particular, tends to focus on local communities and their willingness to host a production facility (e.g., Cousse et al., 2020; D'Souza and Yiridoe, 2014; Loring, 2007; Kasperson and Ram, 2013; Zoellner et al., 2008). Focus has often been on not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) phenomena, in which broad social support is undermined by localized resistance among individuals or communities who feel most exposed to the potential negative externalities imposed by proposed wind turbines or other production facilities (Smith and Klick, 2007; Wüstenhagen et al., 2007).The NIC and other government ministries, such as the Ministry of Finance, supported the establishment of the wind farm given its potential benefits in helping Israel meet its wind energy quotas and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as providing income to local residents (interviewee 10; interviewee 11). However, during discussions on the plan there was disagreement over what needed to be included in the models in order reduce environmental uncertainties. The NIC recommended construction of the wind farm on the condition that it included mitigation measures, after which the types of uncertainties and the willingness of stakeholders to accept the project shifted to more specific questions over the species in need of protection and the types, effectiveness, and costs of mitigation measures available.Government ministries were also concerned about different types of uncertainty. The Ministry of Energy expressed concern that the SOD would create uncertainty regarding the dependability of electricity generation and the developers were concerned about economic losses from shutdowns (such issues had occurred with SODs in other countries (e.g., Birdlife International, 2015). The Ministry of Environmental Protection, despite supporting the construction of wind turbines in principle, asked to suspend submission of the plan, pending further information, and requested hiring an independent environmental consultant to address the large knowledge gaps concerning risks to birds (NIC, 2017b).Following the subcommittee decisions, the NIC convened to discuss the approval of the wind farm plan. Members of the NIC agreed to accept most of the components of the mitigation regime suggested by the external investigator and the subcommittee (NIC, 2018a). However, they were divided regarding the stipulation of running the “dry” regime before submission of the building permit request. On one side was the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which supported the condition claiming that collecting more accurate and reliable data during the “dry” regime was essential as it would provide greater certainty about the developer's ability to meet the threshold values. On the other side was the Ministry of Energy's opposition arguing that such a condition would only lead to a further delay in the plan. Rejection of the permit based on dry run results would leave the developer with a high degree of financial uncertainty regarding the scale of additional investment required, if indeed additional investment would even suffice in meeting threshold values. They preferred that the developer submit the application for a building permit in parallel with the implementation of the “dry” regime, a position supported bymost members of the NIC (NIC, 2018b). The plan was approved by NIC and submitted for government approval (NIC, 2018c).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Birds
  • Mitigation technology
  • Renewable energy
  • Social acceptance
  • Uncertainty
  • Wind power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy (all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Institutional acceptance of wildlife mitigation technologies for wind energy: The case of Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this