Out of Sight, out of Mind? Controversy over Offshore Wind Energy in Norway's News Media
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScience as Culture. 2016, 25 (4), 449-472. 10.1080/09505431.2016.1183609
News media are important reference points for public sense-making of emerging technology. In Norway, offshore wind can be considered an emerging technology. Siting renewable energy technology offshore is commonly regarded as a solution to onshore implementation problems, as development happens ‘out of sight, out of mind’ of the public. However, does moving renewable energy technology offshore really prevent controversy? How is emerging offshore wind technology made comprehensible in Norwegian news media? The dominance of supporting actors and arguments in the Norwegian news media discourse on offshore wind energy technology and the high prevalence of the argument that offshore wind should be non-controversial due to its placement ‘out of sight’ suggest that the expectation that such technology will prevent controversy has been partly met. Still, the emerging technology has been accompanied by an evolving controversy, though with a different extent and focus than the controversy over onshore wind. Both supporting and opposing actors have made offshore wind energy technology comprehensible by employing economic, environmental and moral arguments. Economics has appeared as a privileged frame of interpretation used by both supporters and opponents. Environmental arguments have shifted their focus to biodiversity and global aspects such as sustainability and climate change, and lost their dominance relative to their role in onshore controversies.