Renewable Energy and the Public From NIMBY to Participation
Throughout the world, the threat of climate change is pressing governments to accelerate the deployment of technologies to generate low carbon electricity or heat. But this is frequently leading to controversy, as energy and planning policies are revised to support new energy sources or technologies (e.g. offshore wind, tidal, bioenergy or hydrogen energy) and communities face the prospect of unfamiliar, often large-scale energy technologies being sited near to their homes. Policy makers in many countries face tensions between 'streamlining' planning procedures, engaging with diverse publics to address what is commonly conceived as 'NIMBY' (not in my back yard) opposition, and the need to maintain democratic, participatory values in planning systems.
This volume provides a timely, international review of research on public engagement, in contexts of diverse, innovative energy technologies. Public engagement is conceived broadly - as the interaction between how developers and other key actors engage with publics about energy technologies (including assumptions held about the methods used, such as the provision of financial benefits or the holding of deliberative events), and how individuals and groups engage with energy policies and projects (including indirectly through the media and directly through emotional and behavioural responses).
The book's contributors are leading experts in the UK, Europe, North and South America and Australia drawn from a variety of relevant social science disciplinary perspectives. The book makes a significant contribution to our existing knowledge, as well as providing interested professionals, policymakers and members of the public with a timely overview of the critical issues involved in public engagement with low carbon energy technologies.
'Public acceptance is key to the development of the renewable energy we need to meet our climate goals. Simple stereotypes of NIMBY opposition may work in newspaper headlines, but developers and policymakers need a more sophisticated understanding of what makes people tick and how best to engage. This new volume meets a pressing need - both academics and practitioners will gain from it.' Prof Jim Skea, Research Director, UK Energy Research Centre 'This book provides a broad survey of public perceptions and community reactions to building new low-carbon energy facilities. The chapters treat community resistance (and support) as systematic phenomena to be scientifically studied, opening possibilities for creative action. This is a welcome antidote to the typical reaction by engineers and project developers, treating public opinion as an immutable black box.' Prof. Willett Kempton, Center for Carbon-free Power Integration, University of Delaware, USA 'Extensive research has been done over the last decades on both mitigation and adaptation to climate change in the built environment, but the outputs of much of this research have failed to result in the wider uptake of effective greenhouse gas emission reduction solutions. This book introduces 'fresh thinking' on how this may be done- with chapters from leading experts in fields ranging from philosophy, the social, political and physical sciences, engineering, architecture, mathematics and complexity science.' Renew Magazine
'Patrick Devine-Wright's Renewable Energy and the Public: From NIMBY to Participation takes a broad, multidisciplinary approach to the issue of public engagement for renewable energy products. A multitude of contributors offer a variety of theoretical and empirical analyses of the issue, all of which support Devine-Wright's core argument that traditional means of conceptualizing public and stakeholder positions on renewable energy are overly simplistic, and public engagement processes based on these depictions are insufficient for pursuing the goal of increased renewable energy use in a fair and democratic way.' - Damian Pitt, Journal of Planning Education and Research