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Title: Imposition or "the will of the people"? : procedural justice in the implementation of community wind energy projects
Author: Simcock, Neil David
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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Perceived procedural justice in the implementation process of wind energy projects has been shown to be an important factor in shaping local acceptance of such schemes. However, thus far most research on this topic has focussed on large scale or private-developer led projects, with little research into how procedural justice might be important in "community" owned or led wind energy projects. The thesis addresses this gap by examining how local residents and project leaders perceive the implementation process of two community wind energy projects. It uses in-depth qualitative methods, with fifty-three interviews supplemented by participant observation in each community and a content analysis of key documents. The findings show that the implementation of community wind energy projects may be perceived as "procedurally just" by some local residents if the process generates a sense of community efficacy or "control" over the project. However, such perceptions are not guaranteed or necessarily consensual and very strong feelings of injustice can still exist with those who believe there to be unfair exclusions from the process or that community efficacy is more rhetoric than reality. One reason for this potential range of viewpoints is that claims and interpretations of procedural justice involve multiple "dimensions" of procedure, termed in this thesis: the extent of authority, the sharing of authority, inclusiveness, information provision, and communication & decision mode. These are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, with the perceived fairness of one dimension impacting on the perceived fairness of another. As such, creating perceived fairness in the implementation of community wind energy projects is not straightforward and attention must be to achieving justice in each dimension of procedure. A more explicitly "spatial" element to procedural justice, in terms of "where" decisions are taken, is also shown to be an important part of the justice interpretations and claims made by various stakeholders. In both case studies, the relatively local control of each community wind energy project was generally supported as a matte!; of justice, but defining exactly what the "fair" spatial boundaries of each "local community" ought to encompass was much more problematic and the subject of arguments over justice. The thesis concludes by stating that community control and ownership of wind projects does represent a significant opportunity to implement wind energy in a more just manner, and thus to potentially help reduce the extent and strength, of local opposition toward specific projects. However, community-ownership is not a "silver bullet". Instead, careful attention must be paid into how such projects are implemented and the justness of their implementation processes if greater local support and a more just mode of deploying wind power are to be achieved.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available