Danish nearshore wind energy policy: Exploring actors, ideas, discursive processes and institutions via discursive institutionalism

Helene Dyrhauge (Lead Author), Jenny Fairbrass

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This article explores Danish renewable energy policy and policymaking, focusing on the development of nearshore wind energy and the role played by various actors, their competing ideas, the discursive processes in which they participate, and the institutional settings where exchanges occur. The research employs a case study design, concentrating on the Vesterhav Syd nearshore windfarm project. Drawing on semi-structured interviews, the paper exploits Discursive Institutionalism and one of its recent refinements, labelled Ideational Power that highlights power over, through and in ideas. The data gathered provides compelling evidence of the ways in which actors struggle for dominance, each seeking to persuade others of their preferred policy problem definition and solutions: a process that oscillates between highly technical coordinative discourses among government agencies and business organisations and more politicised communicative discourses among a wider set of actors that includes community groups. Significantly, this case reveals the power of various policy stakeholders in Danish energy policy, suggesting that once decisions are taken at the national level of governance to construct a windfarm, only limited influence can be exerted by local groups on the outcomes. Our findings raise wider questions about such processes beyond the Danish case.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-235
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Issue number3
Early online date25 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Denmark; Discursive Institutionalism; Ideational Power; Nearshore Windfarm; Renewable Energy.
  • renewable energy
  • ideational power
  • Denmark
  • nearshore windfarm
  • discursive institutionalism

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