Wind energy is an important part of policy goals in IEA Wind TCP member countries working to meet their clean energy obligations. Wind power must be developed in responsible ways that work with host communities and ecosystems. Social acceptance continues to be a key constraint on the development of wind energy projects. Projects that encounter concerned host communities – and, in some cases, opposition – can have increased costs, timelines, and failures, which decrease the overall rate of wind energy deployment.
In the face of the intensifying and dynamic challenge of social acceptance of wind energy in many parts of the world, IEA Wind TCP Task 28 on Social Science of Wind Energy Acceptance serves as an international working group for research and knowledge exchange involving Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States.
To achieve renewable energy policy objectives, social acceptance researchers and practitioners must focus on the needs of all stakeholders such as policymakers, regulators, local host communities, developers, environmental protection organizations, planners, and special interest groups. For the purposes of the task, we defined ‘social acceptance’ as a favorable or positive response relating to proposed or developed technology by members of a given social unit (country or region, community or town and household, organization).
It is recognized that the value of the Task will come from these objectives and expected results:
- Ensuring diverse participation from a larger number of countries and a variety of social scientists;
- Adopting new methods of knowledge sharing based on more proactive involvement of Task participants and new online webinar and meeting tools;
- Greater emphasis on maximizing the value of the Task outputs through the engagement of end-users and broad systems thinking;
- Exploration of increasing the Task’s reach to developing countries;
- Increasing the profile and awareness of Task 28 by proactive outreach and online dissemination to and through wind and other renewable energy stakeholders globally.
Outputs should be conceived and executed in a manner that will enhance our understanding of social acceptance while supporting the work of policy-makers, developers, and other stakeholders in the global wind industry as they seek to define and build new energy infrastructure at levels consistent with the perceived needs and goals for their respective country. Collaborations further increase country capacity through networking and access to new resources.
Continued expansion of international collaboration and knowledge transfer including linking to efforts by other groups involved in wind energy. Such groups may include but are not limited to, the Renewable Grid Initiative (RGI.org), European Technology & Innovation Platform (ETIP) on Wind Energy & EWEA/Wise Power, Wind 2050 Research Group, and European Academy of Wind Energy.
Dissemination of research, information, and recommendations to government, and regulatory bodies, along with the research, wind development, and environmental communities, through a webinar series, development of one-page fact sheets and summaries of pertinent research findings, slide decks of relevant information, and other direct outreach approaches.
Continued enhancement and maintenance of Task 28 website (on the new IEA Wind platform) to facilitate easy access to existing literature and relevant information on social acceptance of wind development relevant to stakeholders such as researchers, wind developers, host communities, regulators, and opinion leaders.
Continued development and publication of briefing papers that advance the understanding of central issues concerning the social acceptance of wind energy.
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