The Valuation History of Danish Wind Power: The Ongoing Struggle of a Challenger Technology to Prove its Worth to Society

Henrik Bach Mortensen

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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The renowned philosopher John Dewey understood that we can only replace our doubts and ideas about the world with settled beliefs through the tools we have available in our inquiry. Likewise, the characteristics that make technical objects like wind turbines visible are not pre-given. Instead, the value depends on the tools we use to make some characteristics visible. These characteristics are then framed to produce a given meaning about the value of wind power. It could be characterized as a supplement to an energy system locked in to past fossil fuel choices. It could be characterized as a subsidized distortion in a certain economic doctrine’s conception of a free market. Or it could be seen as an indispensable solution to the existential climate crisis humankind has brought upon itself. Valuation of an object is never given nor objective, but produced through frames and networks that are contingent and disputable. This thesis uncovers how Danish wind power came to be thought of as a worthwhile societal investment through a long and ongoing struggle of valuation. When facts and opinions are increasingly mixed up, one must look beyond the numbers and to the valuation networks of humans, materials and calculative devices. As we are faced with the fierce urgency of the Anthropocene, we must make the social practices of valuation discussable to expose the limits and consequences of the metrics of the past.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAalborg Universitetsforlag
Number of pages420
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7210-183-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
SeriesPh.d.-serien for Det Tekniske Fakultet for IT og Design, Aalborg Universitet

Bibliographical note

PhD supervisor:
Professor Peter Karnøe, Dep. of Planning, Aalborg University


  • Valuation
  • Wind power
  • Sustainable Transitions
  • Energy policy

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