Conference programme

Back to the programme printer.gif Print

Wednesday, 18 November 2015
14:30 - 16:00 Social acceptance of wind farms
Environmental impacts & social acceptance  
Onshore      Offshore    

Room: Montmartre

Learning objectives

1. to improve acceptance
2. to engage with local stakeholders
3. to support decision making
4. to share lessons learnt and experiences

Lead Session Chair:
Helene Gelas, CGR Legal, France
Han Lindeboom, IMARES, The Netherlands
Jennifer Ramsay Scottish Government/Local Energy Scotland, United Kingdom
Jennifer Ramsay (1) F
(1) Scottish Government/Local Energy Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Share this presentation on:

Printer friendly version: printer.gif Print

Presenter's biography

Biographies are supplied directly by presenters at EWEA 2015 and are published here unedited

Jennifer works as part of the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewables Energy Scheme (CARES) team at Local Energy Scotland, based in Edinburgh. Jennifer has a BSc in Sustainable Development, and has worked in the community energy sector for four years. She is responsible for coordinating guidance and support regarding community involvement in renewable energy development, exploring potential for shared ownership opportunities, and ensuring the industry in Scotland is supported to deliver best practice. Jennifer also works on the IEE-funded WISE Power project, seeking to optimise social engagement and acceptance related to onshore wind projects.


Local Engagement in Scotland - from Ownership to Acceptance


With over 5GW of onshore wind installed, and a further 4GW consented and working towards operation, Scotland’s onshore wind industry is vibrant. While many communities are supportive of the industry, there are a number of challenges facing developers in ensuring local communities feel engaged and positive towards the industry. There are a number of lessons to be learnt from the experiences of the Scottish Government and the renewables industry.


This session will look at how Scotland has encouraged and supported local ownership of renewable energy projects, and the positive implications of this upon social acceptance. Recent developments in encouraging ‘shared ownership’ of projects between commercial and community groups will be presented and discussed. Current research and practical tools to support effective social engagement will be presented, as successful engagement is key to fostering acceptance. Finally, the session will look further research and guidance which the Scottish Government has undertaken to develop and support the onshore wind industry.

Main body of abstract

Local acceptance of projects is higher where there is true participation and involvement. The Scottish Government has a flagship programme to support community ownership of renewable energy projects, and offers pre-development financial support to community groups along with tailored advice and support to progress projects. This programme has been instrumental in engaging communities with the sector and showing the opportunities for wholly community owned developments. The largest community owned project in the UK is currently under construction, a 9MW windfarm which will provide sustainable income for the local area, funding a hospice and a number of community needs.

This appetite and support for community involvement has led to a very active and well-resourced community sector, and subsequently an increasing number of commercial developers and local people working together on truly collaboratively projects, referred to as ‘shared ownership’. Recent Good Practice Principles were published by the Scottish Government, aiming to commit commercial developers to incorporating the opportunity for a degree of local ownership into their developments.

The Scottish Government is pleased to be a partner in the current WISE Power project, an Intelligent Energy Europe project running until October 2016. WISE Power seeks to build on learnings from 13 partners in growth, emerging and mature wind markets across Europe, to devise Social Acceptance Pathways, an interactive tool which will help developers and other stakeholders design and implement an effective social engagement and acceptance strategy. This practical tool is currently in draft format and initial learnings can be shared from the information-gathering undertaken which has informed its development. The Scottish Government believes social acceptance will be improved through innovative shared ownership arrangements which empower and involve the community, and WISE Power is focused on developing such financial solutions.

The Scottish Government has further funded research to be undertaken in this topic, and has recently published a Good Practice Review of Engagement for Onshore Wind. Additionally, the Scottish Government in 2014 published Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments, a document which has standardised the provision of financial community benefits from wind projects, and thus improved trust and support regarding the industry.


This strong central support in Scotland has worked well to support an active renewable energy industry, and active community sector, which together help to maximise social acceptance, and accelerate the deployment of onshore wind.

Learning objectives
Value of local ownership;
Mechanisms to deliver shared ownership of projects;
Social acceptance pathways;
Understanding of good practice for engagement.