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Annoyance and welfare costs from the presence of renewable energy power plants: an application of the contingent valuation method

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Abstract

Sustainability is frequently defined by its three pillars: economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally bearable. Consequently the evaluation of the sustainability of any decision, public or private, requires information on these three dimensions. This paper focuses on social sustainability. In the context of renewable energy sources, the examination of social sustainability requires the analysis of not only the efficiency but also the equity of its welfare impacts. The present paper proposes and applies a methodology to generate the information necessary to do a proper welfare analysis of the social sustainability of renewable energy production facilities. This information is key both for an equity and an efficiency analysis. The analysis focuses on the case of investments in renewable energy electricity production facilities, where the impacts on local residents’ welfare are often significantly different than the welfare effects on the general population. We apply the contingent valuation method to selected facilities across the different renewable energy power plants located in Portugal and conclude that local residents acknowledge differently the damage sustained by the type, location and operation of the plants. The results from these case studies attest to the need of acknowledging and quantifying the negative impacts on local communities when assessing the economic viability, social equity and environmental impact of renewable energy projects.

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  • Anabela Botelho & Lina Sofia Lourenço-Gomes & Lígia Costa Pinto & Sara Sousa & Marieta Valente, 2015. "Annoyance and welfare costs from the presence of renewable energy power plants: an application of the contingent valuation method," NIMA Working Papers 60, Núcleo de Investigação em Microeconomia Aplicada (NIMA), Universidade do Minho.
  • Handle: RePEc:nim:nimawp:60/2015
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    Keywords

    Sustainability; Renewable Energy Sources; Contingent Valuation; Public Attitudes;

    JEL classification:

    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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