Study 2:  Media and Wind Energy Development


This study focuses on the analysis of local and national media contents circulated within Ontario with the aim of understanding: 1) dominant media frames around risks and benefits associated with wind energy development and 2) the (de)legitimization of various stakeholder voices and perspectives within the media; 3) the experiences of wind energy developers within Ontario and how they relate to media coverage.


Several scholars have attempted to explain the (un)successful deployment of wind energy by studying public perceptions of and reactions to the technology. To date, however, a majority of studies continue to focus on the role of specific issues (e.g., visual perceptions, financial incentives, political factors, health) in shaping responses to the technology to the neglect of broader multicausal factors and processes that determine these responses. Additionally, important factors which could influence deployment such as media discourse and developer perspectives have received very scant attention within the research community. With these contexts in mind, this study will seek to understand the role of the media in shaping public perceptions of the technology, understand how various stakeholder perspectives are represented in the media and, understand the experiences of wind energy developers within the province. Driven by Luhmann's Ecological Communication theory and the Socio-Political Evaluation of Energy Deployment (SPEED) framework which call for a holistic understanding of environmental issues and renewable energy deployment respectively, the study will focus on economic, political, health, environmental, aesthetic, wildlife and environmental factors and the interplay thereof.


The research has two major components: (1) media content analysis which will show trends in various media frames (2) interviews with wind energy development organizations across Ontario.


The research will help with our understanding of the level of balance given to various issues within media reports and how media contents have the potential to shape public perceptions of wind energy development, renewable energy policies and various stakeholders who are directly or indirectly involved in the development process. The study will also contribute to our understanding of how various stakeholders (e.g., grassroots citizen groups, developers, government officials) are (mis)represented within the media and understand how various risks and benefits associated with the technology are legitimized within media reports.

The second component of the study which is concerned with developer perspectives will help unearth the perspectives and experiences of various development organizations across Ontario. Traditionally, research on the social aspects of wind energy development has blamed unsuccessful development(s) on public resistance to the technology. This perspective has recently undergone intense criticisms. This study will therefore provide new and very useful insights by highlighting roadblocks to successful deployment from the perspective of developers.

Learn More

To learn more about this study please see the list of publications and/or contact us


Carelle earns AAG paper award! 17 Apr 2021

Canadian MOCWE survey results arriving! 7 Nov 2020

Attitudes towards wind turbine health effects pathways 20 Oct 2020

Carelle's paper on energy transitions and and reconciliation accepted for publication 9 Sep 2020

Ireland wind neighbours pilot survey 6 Sep 2020

Paige Callaghan joins the team 28 May 2020

Carelle completes interview phase of M'Chigeeng research partnership 16 Oct 2019

Carelle, Parveen and Jamie join low carbon transition workshop in Belfast NI 20 Sep 2019

Welcome Sara to the research team 10 Sep 2019

M'Chigeeng-MOCWE (Western U) research partnership launch! 25 Jul 2019

International Energy Association Wind Task 28: Social Accpetance of Wind Energy 28 Mar 2018

Welcome Parveen to the research team 8 Jan 2018

Renewables in Remote Communities: Whitehorse 24 Oct 2017

Welcome Carelle to the research team 28 Sept 2017

Dr. Walker off to Queen's, Postdoc A SHARED Future 1 Sept 2017

Team research workshop and fieldtrip - thanks to our hosts! 18 August 2017

News and views piece on community participation published in Nature Energy 18 July 2017

Dr. Walker! 27 June 2017

Jamie attends workshop for A SHARED Future 24 March 2017

Media coverage of "Toolkit" studies 6 March 2017

Final "Toolkit" available for download 10 February 2017

"Toolkit" and Dec 8 Workshop/Webinar details posted 6 December 2016

On Thurs, Dec. 8, 2016 we will be holding our end-of-project workshop for the "toolkit" series of studies. 17 October 2016

Graduate students needed for new funded studies! 8 July 2016

Study 1: All data collected and being analyzed 11 February 2016

Lessons learned from Ontario wind energy disputes manuscript published 26 January 2016

"Adding insult to injury" manuscript published 23 November 2015

Emmanuel Songsore earns PhD focused on media analysis. Congratulations! 19 October 2015

Survey for study 1 has been mailed out to prospective respondents. 15 June 2015

COAREP seeking turbine lease-holders in the Adelaide-Metcalfe area to interview (confidential/anonymous)! 17 February 2014

Meghan McMorris joins the research team to work with Indigenous communities. 17 February 2015

Fieldwork in Ontario and Nova Scotia 8 October 2014

Media release of "Beyond Rhetoric" study paper 21 May 2014

"Geographic perspectives on wind energy" 10 April 2014

Launch of COAREP website 9 April 2014