Citizen participation and acceptance are becoming critical to the success of the energy transition not only in Europe, but around the world. Recent protests against wind and solar projects are therefore a worrying trend, one that could significantly slow the pace of the energy transition. This trend is all the more worrying because it comes at precisely the moment we need to accelerate the pace of renewable energy deployment to tackle the climate crisis.
A growing body of research shows that citizen opposition to renewable energy projects is far more likely to emerge, and to spread, when citizens and local communities are shut out from investing and participating in projects themselves.
So how can governments square this circle?
This policy brief, prepared for Friends of the Earth Europe, outlines some of the pathways forward.