Legal Perspectives on Bottom-up Approaches
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Marjan Peeters and Thomas Schomerus
Chapter 10: Regulatory financial obligations for promoting local acceptance of renewable energy projects
Surveys show that public attitudes towards renewable energy are highly positive, particularly in all the major renewable energy producing countries. However, individual renewable energy projects do not always win the support of the public, and a common feature, especially of large-scale renewable energy infrastructure projects, is that they often give rise to strong local opposition. In many countries, renewable energy projects are increasingly confronted with local opposition that extends the project development period, raises costs and in some cases even brings otherwise viable projects to a halt. The news media may often give vivid portrayals of the opposition of neighbours to individual projects, and in many cases this will add to the local or community disapproval. It will often be local government authorities that have to balance the negative local impacts of renewable energy projects against their wider national or global benefits. This is a challenge, particularly if the policy and legal framework does not provide for an adequate balancing of these to some extent conflicting interests. Nevertheless, national governments cannot avoid addressing these potential conflicts with local interests. A failure to take account of the issue of public acceptance of renewable energy projects increases the risk of them being delayed or simply failing. Moreover, given the ambitious policy objectives, renewable energy development is being pushed towards larger projects and larger installations and thus their impact on landscapes and on local host communities can be expected to increase.
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