Wind power and community benefits: Challenges and opportunities

Journal Article

Title: Wind power and community benefits: Challenges and opportunities
Authors: Aitken, M.
Publication Date:
October 01, 2010
Journal: Energy Policy
Volume: 38
Issue: 10
Pages: 6066-6075
Publisher: Elsevier

Document Access

Website: External Link


Aitken, M. (2010). Wind power and community benefits: Challenges and opportunities. Energy Policy, 38(10), 6066-6075.

A challenge relating to the development of renewable energy in the UK concerns how large companies can foster positive relationships with local communities. The concepts of ‘trust’ and ‘fairness’ are central to debates around proposed renewable energy developments, however, these concepts are complex, ambiguous and interrelated. In the UK the provision of community benefits stemming from the development of renewable energy projects remains a voluntary activity. This paper presents the findings of a case study of one wind power development and how community benefits associated with this were perceived by the local community throughout various stages of the case study (notably during planning, construction and operation). The case study highlights the challenging nature of community benefits from wind power developments. Important decisions regarding who the relevant local community is or what form community benefits should take present opportunities for disagreement between conflicting interests. It is argued that institutionalised guidance would serve a number of worthwhile purposes. Firstly, they would provide greater clarity. Secondly, they would give developers greater confidence to discuss the community benefits package in the early planning stages, and thirdly, they would reduce the likelihood of community benefits being perceived as bribes.

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