Risk Regulations and Procedural Justice: The Controversy on the Construction of Wind Turbines
Local opposition to wind turbine construction projects evinces the gap between green energy policies and local perceptions and social values. This study examined knowledge disputes in risk regulations and the problem of procedural justice regarding the wind turbine construction project in Yuanli Township, Miaoli County. This study indicated that the discourses and risk perceptions differ among policy actors. The wind energy firm responsible for constructing the turbines stressed the importance of renewable energy and the benefits of the development project, whereas local residents and activists were concerned with the proximity of the turbines to their homes, worrying that low-frequency noise produced by the machines may negatively affect their health and quality of life. The wind energy firm and the opposition coalition cited scientific reports as their argument bases and refuted each other’s knowledge claims. This wind turbine construction project reflects the problem of insufficient information and “undone science” as well as failure to implement the informed consent principle. Relevant authorities must provide funding for research on the long-term health risks of wind turbines and promote citizen participation in the knowledge production of impact assessments as well as the processes of regulatory policymaking.