How wind became a four-letter word: Lessons for community engagement from a wind energy conflict in King Island, Australia

Rebecca Colvin, Bradd Witt, Justine Lacey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Wind is recognised as a key source of renewable energy. Despite broad public support for the sector, wind energy proposals have routinely triggered social conflict and localised opposition. To promote social acceptance and avoid conflict, the wind energy sector undertakes community engagement. This paper interrogates the community engagement undertaken in King Island (Tasmania, Australia) for a large scale wind energy development proposal which did not proceed to implementation due to external economic factors. Despite the proponent's adoption of what was described as a 'best practice' community engagement strategy, the proposal caused significant social conflict for the community. In-depth interviews (n=30) were conducted with members of the King Island community and were qualitatively analysed through the social identity lens. Five key drivers of the local conflict were identified: problematic pre-feasibility engagement; the lack of a third-party facilitator of the community consultative committee; holding a vote which polarised the community; the lack of a clear place in the engagement process for local opposition, and; the significance of local context. These findings are instructive for improving community engagement practice for wind energy and other energy generation and land use change sectors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)483-494
    JournalEnergy Policy
    Volume98
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'How wind became a four-letter word: Lessons for community engagement from a wind energy conflict in King Island, Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this