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ENERGIX-Stort program energi

CIVIC Renewables: Development of collaborative approaches to civic renewable energy for sustainable rural development and land use

Alternative title: Civic Renewables: Utvikling av samarbeids metoder for Lokal fornybar Energi, der kan sikre bærekraftig rural utvikling og areal bruk.

Awarded: NOK 12.9 mill.

Renewable energy is one of the most conflictual areas in Norwegian climate and environmental debate today and include central themes such as definitions of power and Injustice in distribution of pros and cons. Recent studies in wind power development indicates that the approval procedures are perceived as opaque and undemocratic. Simultaneously, are principles for distributions from the produced values different than those known from the hydropower and oil sector that where a decisive factor in the development of the Norwegian well fair state. Local ownership and anchorage can improve local acceptance of renewables, which are a cornerstone in the green energy transition. However, strong local and regional ownership models cannot be allowed to compromise our ability to meet the need for an intact ecosystem, biodiversity and considerations to Sami reindeer herding. The research project CIVIC Renewables will investigate how new types of procedures, organisations and ownership models can contribute better processes in development of renewable projects. The overall problem is whether new types of local collaborative processes can ameliorate conflicts in connection with development of renewable energy projects. Purpose: -Analyse selected cases in Norway and Denmark focusing on innovative solutions for development of renewables and principles for distribution of pros and cons. -Investigate how good practice from the case studies can be repeated in wider contexts (3-5 test cases). -Assess how the renewable energy transitions can be optimised to obtain appropriate professionality and utilise synergies through a certain standardisation of these processes. -Foresight methods will be used to engage key actors in an open-minded dialogue of future options and challenges in green energy transition. The aim is to illustrate different development paths and policy means that considers future uncertainties.

Climate change, environmental pollution, and growing demands for food, fibre and energy are placing intense pressure on land and resources. The development of socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable renewable energy (RE) production is central to releasing these pressures and enabling a transition towards a low-emission society. Wind power offers huge opportunities to realize these goals with significant untapped potential. Norway has seen a major increase in both number of wind farms under-construction and planning applications for new developments. However, these efforts to expand wind power have become flashpoints of conflict between local municipalities, rural communities, central planning authorities and RE developers. Wind power projects in Norway have been criticised for their various negative impacts related to biodiversity, and other ecosystem services, loss of indigenous Sámi culture, fragmentation of important reindeer grazing areas, and loss of scenic landscapes. In addition, there is a substantial and research-based critique of limited transparency of the planning and licencing processes, as well as of the actual contribution of wind energy to solve the climate challenge. Efforts to dampen these various tensions have failed. Previous research has shown that participatory processes focusing on civic energy involvement and principles of nature resource rent have a high potential to solve these challenges but are non-existent in Norway’s wind power planning approach. Thus, the aim of CIVIC Renewables is to identify and evaluate local solutions to civic energy development that apply these principles and develop -with an interdisciplinary team of researchers and external RE stakeholders - a civic RE planning framework for wind energy development that will be robust in diverse local contexts, for different RE technologies and structures in Norwegian municipalities to navigate conflicts and safeguard natural environments.

Funding scheme:

ENERGIX-Stort program energi