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Public engagement in electricity network development: the case of the Beauly–Denny project in Scotland


  • Wenche Tobiasson

    (Durham University Business School)

  • Christina Beestermöller

    (Technische Universität Berlin)

  • Tooraj Jamasb

    (Durham University Business School)


Ambitious renewable energy targets and an aging infrastructure necessitate a substantial upgrading and expansion of the electricity networks around Europe and beyond. Although vital for the functioning of the economy and a green energy future, grid development projects are often met by public opposition, which increase costs and lead to lengthy planning processes. Therefore, understanding the social aspects of a green energy economy is becoming increasingly important. The current planning frameworks have proven ineffective at resolving conflicts among stakeholders, indicating the need for a new approach. We analyse these issues from an economic perspective, outlining the economic characteristics of transmission developments and public engagement. We identify previously overlooked features of the planning process that contribute to the rise in conflicts, public opposition and prolonged project realisation. The Scottish Beauly–Denny high voltage transmission development is discussed in detail and our findings indicate a need for better engagement with local communities at an earlier stage of planning. Trust between communities, developers and government is important for the negotiations and can be achieved through transparency, specific education and set guidelines for stakeholder engagement in the planning process.

Suggested Citation

  • Wenche Tobiasson & Christina Beestermöller & Tooraj Jamasb, 2016. "Public engagement in electricity network development: the case of the Beauly–Denny project in Scotland," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(2), pages 105-126, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:epolin:v:43:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s40812-016-0030-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s40812-016-0030-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Simora, Michael & Frondel, Manuel & Vance, Colin, 2018. "Does financial compensation increase the acceptance of power lines? Evidence from Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 742, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Schittekatte, Tim & Pototschnig, Alberto & Meeus, Leonardo & Jamasb, Tooraj & Llorca, Manuel, 2021. "Making the TEN-E regulation compatible with the Green Deal: Eligibility, selection, and cost allocation for PCIs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 156(C).
    4. Simora, Michael & Frondel, Manuel & Vance, Colin, 2020. "Do financial incentives increase the acceptance of power lines? Evidence from Germany," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    5. Simora, Michael, 2017. "The effect of financial compensation on the acceptance of power lines: Evidence from a randomized discrete choice experiment in Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 729, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

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