Integrating Framing Approaches as a Tool for Managing Complex Transitioning to Renewable Energy (TRE) Projects: The Yatir Wind Farm Case Study

Debi Parush, Deborah F. Shmueli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Transitioning to renewable energy is an urgent global goal. Wind energy is a promising renewable source with contentious obstacles. Using the Yatir Wind Farm project in Israel as a case study, we explore the potential of framing in identifying and mitigating obstacles in a wind farm project. The cognitive and strategic frames employed by stakeholders were elicited through 18 semi-structured interviews and more than 100 documents. This analysis highlights three conflicting issues: potential or perceived harm to neighboring residents, protecting birds and bats, and adapting to changing regulations throughout the process. Regarding residents’ opposition to feared harm from the project, initial cautious curiosity was followed by distrust and deep disappointment due to a lack of transparency and a sense of abandonment facing perceived existential threats to their health and homes. This led residents to conduct legal battles, which resulted in their claims being rejected. It also led to the breakdown of relationships among neighbors opposing and promoting the wind farms. In the case of bird and bat protection, stakeholders initially framed concerns emotionally until the dialogue shifted to scientific discourse, resulting in the successful refinement of mutually agreed upon regulatory guidelines. The structural appeal mechanisms effectively addressed evolving regulations, overcoming the lack of mutual understanding and resulting in the adoption of the majority of the new regulatory requirements. The analysis underscores the importance of understanding stakeholders’ frames for effectively working through the complex and transdisciplinary nature of sustainability transitions and achieving successful outcomes. It also reveals the need for formal mechanisms to validate stakeholder needs and integrate them into decision-making processes. Recommendations include early and meaningful public involvement, process improvement for stakeholder engagement, and enhanced transparency in decision-making processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3164
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.

Keywords

  • decision-making
  • frame theory
  • framing
  • governance
  • mutual understanding
  • regulatory framework
  • resilience
  • sustainability
  • transition to renewable energy (TRE)
  • wicked problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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