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“They made gunpowder … yes down by the river there, that's your energy source”: attitudes towards community renewable energy in Cumbria

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date08/2014
JournalLocal Environment : The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability
Journal number8
Volume19
Number of pages18
Pages915-932
Early online date19/06/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Community-based renewable energy could help in achieving energy targets and altering energy behaviours. It has been found in other studies that the extent to which local residents are involved in a scheme, either through ownership or active participation, can be the key to acceptance and increasing energy awareness. Here, we explore motivations and barriers to involvement with residents in three communities in Cumbria, UK. The study uses questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to explore themes of ownership, levels of involvement and community cohesion, and examines how these influence residents’ willingness to accept or participate in a local initiative. Through exploring these themes we additionally find that residents hold place-based attachments to both physical attributes and social interactions within the community. These attachments appear to be influential in residents’ willingness to participate in local renewable projects and in acceptance of certain renewable technologies. For instance, there was overwhelming support for localised hydropower due to the historical legacy of industrialised water-power use in the region.