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Title: Policy coherence and community acceptance : an evaluation of the development of onshore wind energy in Ireland
Author: Strain, Catherina Josephine
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 1446
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis offers an evaluation of onshore wind-energy development in Ireland. Most of Ireland's current renewable energy installed capacity is in the form of onshore wind energy, and it is accepted that it will continue to play a fundamental role. Ireland has a renewable-energy target for electricity generation of 40% by 2020. This reflects EU and international obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change. Ireland is particularly suited to generating electricity from onshore wind given its exceptional resource. Despite this, the country faces major challenges connecting wind farms to the national electricity grid, and is unlikely to meet its 2020 targets. This research study engaged with many literatures, particularly the social science literature on onshore wind energy, the literature on Irish national wind-energy policy, and the socio-technical transitions work in relation to energy transitions. It also combines the analysis of 16 semi-structured interviews. The outputs were qualitatively analysed to obtain the most significant themes, which were considered in the context of the literature. The findings indicate that policy incoherence in the Irish state's onshore wind-energy policy and poor community acceptance of local wind-energy projects are key factors inhibiting the development of onshore wind energy in Ireland. The overall conclusion is that many interacting factors are important for the successful development of onshore wind-energy projects. This requires national government to demonstrate greater leadership in developing coherent public policies that support local communities to become active stakeholders. Essentially, what is needed is a ‘top-down’ support structure for a 'bottom-up’ movement. A contribution to knowledge is the identification of a series of policy recommendations to improve coherence and community acceptance. The thesis also makes an original contribution to a very small and recent body of knowledge using the socio-technical transitions approach to research the Irish low-carbon energy transition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available