Community ownership of wind energy has been found to increase acceptance, but the reasons for this are poorly understood. Here, we compare different communities’ attitudes towards local onshore wind energy projects in order to gain a deeper understanding of the characteristics of ownership which are conducive to community acceptance. Using a postal survey in Scotland (n = 318), we compared three communities with varying degrees of ownership regarding their (1) support for the local wind project; (2) perceptions of energy justice; (3) perceived impacts; and (4) ownership and benefit preferences. One-way ANOVAs and the Potential for Conflict Index2 identified that residents in the two communities with a degree of ownership were more associated with greater acceptance, processes, and outcomes (i.e. more just and inclusive development processes and more fairly distributed benefits and impacts), than residents living near the privately-owned development. Additionally, we provide evidence that a co-operative can achieve similar acceptance and energy justice as a fully community-owned project. Overall, the results indicate that policymakers should take seriously the connection between the tenets of energy justice and ownership models in their policy and planning efforts.
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We gratefully acknowledge the community members within Dunvegan, Caithness, and Point and Sandwick who took valuable time away from their day to participate in this study. This work was supported by the Rothermere Foundation , the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada , the Canadian Centennial Scholarship Fund , and the School of Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews . We would also like to acknowledge Dr. Jerry Vaske for providing comments on an earlier version and the Reviewers for taking the time and effort to review the manuscript.
© 2022 The Authors