Energy Projects in the Münsterland – Strategies of Legitimation Communication and their Impact


The production of and access to affordable and clean energy is one of the seventeen goals of the United Nations (2021) for sustainable development worldwide. However, the transition from fossil to renewable energy sources in the form of infrastructure projects is not only accompanied by technical, but equally by socio-political questions and extensive discussions. The topic is also being intensively discussed in Münster and the Münsterland region, e.g. with regard to the use of public land for photovoltaic systems, the route of power lines or with regard to the coupling of renewable electricity and heat.

Against this background, the research project examines how participating organisations communicate about energy infrastructure projects with the aim of legitimising them, how this communication is perceived and what expectations are placed on the communication. To answer these questions, the project is based on a mixed-method design. Two empirical sub-studies build on each other: A content analysis is used to examine how project and decision makers communicate about energy projects. Subsequently, the Q-method is used to record the perceptions of affected and interested citizens.