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Public Engagement in Electricity Network Development: A Case Study of the Beauly–Denny Project in Scotland


  • Wenche Tobiasson
  • Christina Beestermöller
  • Tooraj Jamasb


Ambitious renewable energy targets and an aging infrastructure necessitate a substantial upgrading and expansion of the electricity transmission networks around Europe and beyond. Although vital for the functioning of the economy, grid development projects are often met by public opposition, which increase costs and lengthy planning processes. The current planning processes have proven ineffective at resolving the 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 are contributing 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 increased engagement with local communities at an earlier stage of planning. Trust between communities, developers and government is important for future negotiations and can be achieved through transparency, specific education and set guidelines for stakeholder engagement in the planning process.

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  • Wenche Tobiasson & Christina Beestermöller & Tooraj Jamasb, 2015. "Public Engagement in Electricity Network Development: A Case Study of the Beauly–Denny Project in Scotland," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1511, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1511

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Littlechild, 2012. "Regulation and Customer Engagement," Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    2. North, Douglass C, 1994. "Economic Performance through Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 359-368, June.
    3. Avinash Dixit, 2002. "# Incentives and Organizations in the Public Sector: An Interpretative Review," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 696-727.
    4. Devine-Wright, Patrick & Devine-Wright, Hannah & Sherry-Brennan, Fionnguala, 2010. "Visible technologies, invisible organisations: An empirical study of public beliefs about electricity supply networks," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 4127-4134, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Laura-Lucia Richter & Melvyn Weeks, 2016. "Flexible Mixed Logit with Posterior Analysis: Exploring Willingness-to-Pay for Grid Resilience," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1631, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Lienert, Pascal & Suetterlin, Bernadette & Siegrist, Michael, 2015. "Public acceptance of the expansion and modification of high-voltage power lines in the context of the energy transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 573-583.

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    More about this item


    Electricity transmission; public engagement; property rights;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • L98 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Government Policy
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • P48 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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