Renewable Energy and the Public: from NIMBY to Participation


Title: Renewable Energy and the Public: from NIMBY to Participation
Publication Date:
January 01, 2011
Published City: London
Volume: 1
Pages: 368
Publisher: Earthscan

Document Access

Website: External Link


Devine-Wright, P. (2011). Renewable Energy and the Public: from NIMBY to Participation London: Earthscan.

Throughout the world, the threat of climate change is pressing governments to accelerate the deployment of technologies to generate low carbon electricity or heat. But this is frequently leading to controversy, as energy and planning policies are revised to support new energy sources or technologies (e.g. offshore wind, tidal, bioenergy or hydrogen energy) and communities face the prospect of unfamiliar, often large-scale energy technologies being sited near to their homes. Policy makers in many countries face tensions between 'streamlining' planning procedures, engaging with diverse publics to address what is commonly conceived as 'NIMBY' (not in my back yard) opposition, and the need to maintain democratic, participatory values in planning systems. 


This volume provides a timely, international review of research on public engagement, in contexts of diverse, innovative energy technologies. Public engagement is conceived broadly - as the interaction between how developers and other key actors engage with publics about energy technologies (including assumptions held about the methods used, such as the provision of financial benefits or the holding of deliberative events), and how individuals and groups engage with energy policies and projects (including indirectly through the media and directly through emotional and behavioural responses). 


The book's contributors are leading experts in the UK, Europe, North and South America and Australia drawn from a variety of relevant social science disciplinary perspectives. The book makes a significant contribution to our existing knowledge, as well as providing interested professionals, policymakers and members of the public with a timely overview of the critical issues involved in public engagement with low carbon energy technologies.


Introduction - P. Devine-Wright

  • Section 1: Conceptual approaches
    1. Symmetries, expectations, dynamics and contexts: A framework for understanding public engagement with renewable energy projects - G. Walker, P. Devine-Wright, J. Barnett, K. Burningham, N. Cass, H. Devine-Wright, G. Speller, J. Barton, B. Evans, Y. Heath, D. Infield, J. Parks, and K. Theobald
    2. 'Planning and persuasion': The principles, procedures, and pitfalls of public engagement in decision-making about renewable energy - C. Haggett
    3. Beyond consensus? Agonism, republicanism and a low carbon future - J. Barry and G. Ellis
    4. Public roles and socio-technical configurations: Diversity in renewable energy deployment in the UK and its implications - G. Walker and N. Cass
    5. From backyards to places: Public engagement and the emplacement of renewable energy technologies - P. Devine-Wright
  • Section 2: Empirical studies of public engagement
    • Part 1: Stakeholder and media representations of public engagement
      1. Discourses on the implementation of wind power: Stakeholder views on public engagement - M. Wolsink
      2. Governing the reconfiguration of energy in Greater London: Practical public engagement as 'delivery' - M. Hodson and S. Marvin
      3. Envisioning public engagement with renewable energy: an empirical analysis of images within the UK National Press 2006/2007 - H. Devine-Wright
      4. NIMBYism and community consultation in electricity transmission network planning - M. Cotton and P. Devine-Wright
    • Part 2: Case studies of public beliefs and responses:
      • Future energy scenarios:
        1. Turning the heat on: Public engagement in Australia's energy future - P. Ashworth, A. Littleboy, P. Graham, and S. Niemeyer
      • Solar energy and microgeneration:
        1. Shaping people's engagement with microgeneration technology: the case of solar photovoltaics in UK homes - D. Abi-Ghanem and C. Haggett
        2. Siting solar power in Arizona: A public value failure? - M. Pasqualetti and C. Schwartz
        3. Socio-environmental research on energy sustainable Communities: Participation experiences of two decades - P. Schweizer-Ries
        4. Yes in my back yard: UK householders pioneering microgeneration heat - R. Roy and S. Caird
      • Wind energy
        1. Socio-environmental impacts of Brazil's first large-scale wind farm - R.L. Improta and J.Q. Pinheiro
        2. Perceptions and preferences regarding offshore wind power in the United States: The leading edge of a new energy source for the Americas - J. Firestone
      • Hydrogen energy
        1. The limits of upstream engagement in an emergent technology: Lay perceptions of hydrogen energy technologies - R. Flynn, P. Bellaby, and M. Ricci
        2. Public engagement with wind-hydrogen energy technology: A comparative study - F. Sherry-Brennan, P. Devine-Wright, and H. Devine-Wright
      • Marine energy
        1. Symbolic interpretations of wave energy in the UK: surfers' perspectives - C. McLachlan
      • Bioenergy
        1. Heat and light: Understanding bioenergy siting controversy - P. Upham
      • Nuclear and low carbon energy
        1. From the material to the imagined: Public engagement with low carbon technologies in a nuclear community - C. Butler, K. Parkhill, and N. Pidgeon

Conclusions: P. Devine-Wright

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