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Trust and community: Exploring the meanings, contexts and dynamics of community renewable energy

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  • Walker, Gordon
  • Devine-Wright, Patrick
  • Hunter, Sue
  • High, Helen
  • Evans, Bob
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    Abstract

    Community renewable energy projects have recently been promoted and supported in the UK by government policy. A community approach, it is argued in the rhetoric of both government and grassroots activists will change the experience and outcomes of the energy sustainable technology implementation. In this paper, we consider how interpersonal and social trust is implicated in the different meanings given to community in RE programmes and projects, and in the qualities and outcomes that are implied or assumed by taking a community approach. We examine how these meanings play out in examples of projects on the ground, focusing on two contrasting cases in which the relationships between those involved locally have exhibited different patterns of cohesiveness and fracture. We argue that trust does have a necessary part to play in the contingencies and dynamics of community RE projects and in the outcomes they can achieve. Trust between local people and groups that take projects forward is part of the package of conditions which can help projects work. Whilst trust may therefore be functional for the development of community RE and potentially can be enhanced by the adoption of a community approach, this cannot be either assured or assumed under the wide diversity of contexts, conditions and arrangements under which community RE is being pursued and practiced.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 6 (June)
    Pages: 2655-2663

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:6:p:2655-2663

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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    Keywords: Community Renewable energy Trust;

    References

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    1. Toke, Dave, 2005. "Explaining wind power planning outcomes:: some findings from a study in England and Wales," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1527-1539, August.
    2. Mitchell, C. & Bauknecht, D. & Connor, P.M., 2006. "Effectiveness through risk reduction: a comparison of the renewable obligation in England and Wales and the feed-in system in Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-305, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Perlaviciute, Goda & Steg, Linda, 2014. "Contextual and psychological factors shaping evaluations and acceptability of energy alternatives: Integrated review and research agenda," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 361-381.
    2. André Wüste & Peter Schmuck, 2012. "Bioenergy Villages and Regions in Germany: An Interview Study with Initiators of Communal Bioenergy Projects on the Success Factors for Restructuring the Energy Supply of the Community," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(2), pages 244-256, February.
    3. Paul Lehmann & Felix Creutzig & Melf-Hinrich Ehlers & Nele Friedrichsen & Clemens Heuson & Lion Hirth & Robert Pietzcker, 2012. "Carbon Lock-Out: Advancing Renewable Energy Policy in Europe," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 323-354, February.
    4. Ek, Kristina & Persson, Lars & Johansson, Maria & Waldo, Åsa, 2013. "Location of Swedish wind power—Random or not? A quantitative analysis of differences in installed wind power capacity across Swedish municipalities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 135-141.
    5. Nolden, Colin, 2013. "Governing community energy—Feed-in tariffs and the development of community wind energy schemes in the United Kingdom and Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 543-552.
    6. Wirth, Steffen, 2014. "Communities matter: Institutional preconditions for community renewable energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 236-246.
    7. Groth, Theresa M. & Vogt, Christine, 2014. "Residents' perceptions of wind turbines: An analysis of two townships in Michigan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 251-260.
    8. Hall, N. & Ashworth, P. & Devine-Wright, P., 2013. "Societal acceptance of wind farms: Analysis of four common themes across Australian case studies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 200-208.
    9. Pepermans, Yves & Loots, Ilse, 2013. "Wind farm struggles in Flanders fields: A sociological perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 321-328.
    10. Yadoo, Annabel & Gormally, Alexandra & Cruickshank, Heather, 2011. "Low-carbon off-grid electrification for rural areas in the United Kingdom: Lessons from the developing world," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6400-6407, October.
    11. Aitken, Mhairi, 2010. "Wind power and community benefits: Challenges and opportunities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 6066-6075, October.
    12. Devine-Wright, Patrick, 2011. "Enhancing local distinctiveness fosters public acceptance of tidal energy: A UK case study," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 83-93, January.
    13. Musall, Fabian David & Kuik, Onno, 2011. "Local acceptance of renewable energy--A case study from southeast Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3252-3260, June.
    14. Anderson, Carmel, 2013. "The networked minority: How a small group prevailed in a local windfarm conflict," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 97-108.

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