Wind power planning in three Swedish municipalities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Wind power is seen by many observers as an important part of the transition to a sustainable energy system, since it does not contribute to the environmental problems connected with dominating energy forms such as fossil fuel, nuclear power and large-scale hydro power. At the same time wind power has some characteristics that makes it a special challenge for land use planning. In Sweden, where wind power is projected to grow rapidly in the years to come, there are signs that the planning system has difficulties in handling its implementation, with lengthy application processes, an increasing public opposition and an inadequate planning at the municipal level. The Swedish planning legislation gives local governments a significant influence over land use planning, which, together with an ambiguous national policy, has turned municipalities into key actors concerning wind power planning. The aim of the paper is to compare the planning for wind power in three municipalities and analyse how it has influenced three important aspects of the wind power development: the siting of turbines, the ownership of turbines and citizen participation. The paper shows that the planning strategies of the municipalities differed considerably and that this in turn has led to differences in the development of wind power. A general conclusion is that there seems to be a dilemma in municipal planning between, on the one hand, the promotion of wind power and, on the other hand, the organisation of a planning that effectively regulates the siting of turbines and allows for citizen participation. The results show that there is a need to support and strengthen municipal planning capacities, and efforts in that direction are being undertaken by state and regional authorities in Sweden. The results, however, also imply the need for stronger policy measures in order to avoid large differences between the way wind power is handled at the municipal level.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Energy Systems


  • municipal planning, land-use planning, wind power
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-581
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch