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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Is large-scale wind power a problem, solution, or victim? A frame analysis of the debate in Swedish media

Bjarstig, Therese; Mancheva, Irina; Zachrisson, Anna; Neumann, Wiebke; Svensson, Johan


Media content analysis was used with the aim of developing an understanding of how the debate on large-scale wind power has played out over time in Sweden, especially in relation to the enactment of national interest areas for wind power. Covering the period 1999 to 2019 and using NVivo for coding and analysis, we reviewed a total of 788 articles in both national and regional daily newspapers. To identify which actors are present in media and how they frame large-scale wind power, we conducted a frame analysis by applying three theoretical elements developed by previous media studies. The first is a diagnostic element used to pinpoint the cause to a problem, the second a prognostic element used to pinpoint the solution to a problem, and the third a motivating element used to identify the person(s) or object(s) suffering from the problem, that is, victim. Our results emphasize that wind power in recent years has been framed as a solution more often than a cause to a problem. One prevailing framing is the localization of large-scale wind power per se and conflicts with other land-uses and national interests. We also identify a tension between international and national policy objectives and local implementation of large-scale wind power. Governmental agencies are the most common framers over time, together with individuals (e.g. locals and second home owners) and wind entrepreneurs. Importantly, whereas politicians and wind entrepreneurs most often frame wind power as a solution, individuals frame it as a cause to a problem.


Wind energy; Wind parks; Media content analysis; Land-use; National interest areas; Planning

Published in

Energy Research and Social Science
2022, Volume: 83, article number: 102337