Despite its ostensible future orientation, research on land use planning has given relatively little consideration to temporality, either empirically or conceptually. The need for analytical advances becomes clear when considering the treatment of ‘end-of-life’ issues for renewable energy facilities like onshore wind. Expanding renewables is central to sustainable energy futures yet land use regulation often treats consents as ‘temporary’, raising questions about how the trajectories of energy transition are maintained into the future. In the first significant analysis of these issues, this paper presents evidence from the UK case where the majority of wind farms are commercially owned. It first examines ‘the problem’ – the extent to which UK wind energy capacity is nearing ‘end-of-life’. Second, using insights from Foucauldian perspectives on problematisation, it examines how and how far national governments are seeking to influence decisions about three critical issues: (i) repowering, (ii) temporary consents and consent renewal, and (iii) decommissioning and removal. The research shows government actions playing catch up and intervening selectively, only partially shaping the multiplicity of potential outcomes. One explanatory factor is attitudes towards wind energy expansion, with governments varying in the extent to which they seek to maintain wind energy projects into the future or wind energy spaces, and/or renegotiate the terms of development (e.g. to add new social concerns). Limited attention to decommissioning is a surprising omission across the board.
Windemer, R. (2019). Considering time in land use planning: An assessment of end-of-life decision making for commercially managed onshore wind schemes. Land Use Policy, 87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.104024