Category Renewable Energy and the Public

Symmetries, Expectations, Dynamics. and Contexts: A Framework for. Understanding Public Engagement with. Renewable Energy Projects

Gordon Walker, Patrick Devine-Wright, Julie Barnett,
Kate Burningham, Noel Cass, Hannah Devine-Wright,
Gerda Speller, John Barton, Bob Evans, Yuko Heath,
David Infield, Judith Parks and Kate Theobald


As this book ably demonstrates, there is a growing body of research on public beliefs, reactions and responses to large-scale renewable energy projects of various forms, often focused on case studies of controversy and local conflict. The profile of available cases has expanded significantly, covering a diversity of locations and contexts around the world and a wide range of types of renewable energy technology and modes of project development...

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Public beliefs and responses to diverse renewable energy projects or initiatives

The second part of Section II focuses upon public beliefs and responses to renew­able energy projects or initiatives, via specific case studies.

In Chapter 10, Ashworth and colleagues evaluate the use of citizens’ panels as part of a wider stakeholder engagement programme that aimed to devise scenar­ios for alternative energy futures for Australia, a country facing severe threats from climate change, as well as abundant fossil fuel reserves. The panels indicated broad overall concern with climate change, yet markedly different attitudes regarding technology futures...

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Empirical Research on Public Engagement. with Renewable Energy

Section II of the book comprises empirical research on public engagement, and is subdivided into two parts. Part 1 takes a look at stakeholder and media represen­tations of public engagement with renewable energy.

Stakeholder and media representations of public engagement

In Chapter 6, Wolsink uses Q-methodology to investigate stakeholder representa­tions of public engagement with wind energy development in three European countries: Germany, The Netherlands and the UK. The analysis revealed four discourses with varying presumptions of community involvement, unconditional or conditional support for development, and concerns about landscape impacts...

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The Structure of This Book

The book is divided into two sections. The first section comprises five chapters addressing theoretical aspects of public engagement with renewable energy.

Conceptual approaches to public engagement with renewable energy

Chapter 1 by Walker and colleagues proposes a comprehensive conceptual frame­work for understanding public engagement, which arose from a multidisciplinary research project conducted in the UK between 2005 and 2009. At the heart of the framework is the notion of symmetry – that public engagement encompasses not only public reactions to technology proposals, but also the actions of those actors who are involved in promoting technology development and engaging with publics in various ways...

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Public Engagement with. Renewable Energy: Introduction

Patrick Devine-Wright

Changes to the earth’s climate are the foundation for this book. According to an international panel of the world’s leading climate scientists, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has reached 435 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) (IPCC, 2007). This compares with about 280ppm before industrialization in the 19th century. The IPCC has predicted that, as a result of continuing increases in greenhouse gas emissions, the average global temperature will rise by 5° or more over the next 100 years in comparison with pre-industrial times...

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Renewable Energy and the Public

Dana Abi-Ghanem is a Research Associate at the Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester, and holds a PhD from Newcastle University. Employing theories from science and technology studies, Dana researches the co-evolution of technology and society, especially the diffusion of renewable energy technologies and processes that shape their meaning and use.

Peta Ashworth is the Group Leader of CSIRO’s Science into Society Group. The group investigates stakeholder attitudes to a range of complex issues that are of strategic importance to Australia. Peta has gained an international reputation as a leading researcher in understanding public perception to climate change and low emission technologies.

John Barry is Associate Director of the Institute for a Sustainable World and Reader in Politics a...

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