The importance of physical and socio-political factors for wind power deployment

The ambition with this project is to identify and quantify socio-political and institutional factors that constrain the potential for renewable energy.

The technical potential for solar and wind is large enough to supply mankind with renewable energy. However, the potential for renewable energy cannot be reduced to a purely technical issue. The ambition with this project is to identify and quantify socio-political and institutional factors that constrain this potential. We will investigate how the deployment density of wind power in Sweden, and other parts of Europe, can be explained by physical factors for example weather conditions, socio-political factors for example public attitudes and institutional factors for example the quality of political institutions.

In order to reach the national- and EU-targets for renewables in the energy mix, as well as to enable industrial and societal energy-transition, better knowledge on where, and dependent on what factors, wind energy can be deployed is crucial. In this project, we apply an interdisciplinary, mixed-methods approach in order to identify, quantify and analyze the physical, socio-political, and institutional factors determining wind-energy deployment across European regions. Our results will present more realistic scenarios of the future deployment of renewables in both Sweden and other parts of Europe, and provide insights imperative for involved actors, such as firms and decision makers, when planning the future development of the energy system and a transition towards an intensified use of renewable energy sources. 

Aim and implementation of the project

The overarching aim of this project is to identify, quantify and analyze the techno-physical, socio-political, and institutional factors determining wind-energy deployment across European regions, in order to gain a better understanding of the future potential for wind-power as a key part in the transition to a renewable energy system.

In order to systematically identify and separate the role of techno-physical, social and institutional factors respectively, the project will conduct comparative studies both between and within countries. Through cross-national comparisons, it is possible to identify and analyze the role of legal prerequisites and national-level institutional factors in affecting deployment potential. Sub-national comparisons, on the other hand, allows for studies of the importance of local-level factors such as path-dependency, institutional learning, and public attitudes towards wind-power deployment.

More specifically the research conducted in the project has the following objectives:

  1. To explain the variation in wind-power deployment across European subnational regions.
  2. To identify, quantify, and test the significance of techno-physical, socio-political, and institutional factors on the deployment of wind-power in Europe


This interdisciplinary project is collaboration among researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and Lule√• University of Technology.

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