This paper aims to understand different outcomes of implementation of wind power deployment programmes. Geographical variables such as quantity of wind resources are in themselves insufficient to explain patterns of implementation of wind power. To enhance the review of the factors affecting wind power deployment we also made a systematic comparison of six country cases: Denmark, Spain, Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands, and England/Wales. The impact of four key institutional variables is examined and put into a scheme of a set of potential hypothesis about their inter-relationships. These are influenced by different national traditions: planning systems; financial support mechanisms; landscape protection organisations and patterns of ownership of wind power. (1) Planning systems, which favour wind power are essential, and in all cases national planning policies generally intend to support wind power development, but planning institutions show a wide variety with clear differences in implementation results. (2) Systems of financial support are also a sine qua non for development but they also vary in their effectiveness across country and time in the study. Robust and consistent support regimes in Denmark, Germany and Spain have speeded developments. (3) Landscape protection organisations vary in strength in a range between England/Wales (very strong and influential) to Spain (non-existent). Strong and effective opposition to wind developments is always primarily rooted in landscape values. (4) Local ownership patterns coincide with higher rates of wind power deployment than remote, corporate ownership. Local involvement recruits conditional support for projects and is related to traditions of energy activism. Such traditions are strongest in Denmark and Germany and weakest in Spain, England/Wales and Scotland. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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