Local Ownership's Effect on Wind Project Perception

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I chose to analyze a post on Renewable Energy's website titled "Local Ownership Means Local Love for Wind Project." The post (link) originally appeared on the Energy Self-Reliant States website and summarizes a journal article from Energy Policy. The article analyzes the results of a survey conducted of two wind projects in Germany - one that was locally owned and one that was not. It compares the public perception of the two projects, with the locally owned project in Zschadra├č far more favorably perceived than the project in Nossen. In fact, the Nossen project was far more unfavorably perceived than its counterpart.

The post concludes that ownership does indeed matter when planning a wind project, especially considering "the way in which U.S. renewable energy policy typically makes local ownership more difficult." I found it interesting that the survey was conducted in Germany, yet the blog author extrapolates the results to be true in the United States as well. From a common sense standpoint, it does appear this would make sense; however, similar data in the US would help to prove the point. 

The post was clear and concise, and I do think it was easy to understand and relate to. I do also question whether there was additional information that could have expanded upon the scope of the original survey that could have further educated readers. Specifically, the blog author could have explained more about the two German wind projects and the difference between locally owned and "absentee-owned." Since the conclusion is that ownership matters, it would help the audience follow the logic to have definitions of both type provided.

The author is also taking data from a survey on wind energy and concluding the results to be typical of all renewable energy projects. Is this a fair conclusion based on the information? Biomass, solar and geothermal energy projects may yield different results based on their very different effects on local communities (space utilized, energy generated, local jobs provided, local economic repercussions, etc).

In addition, I would have liked to see more information on what the author refers to a increasing local resistance, as well as perhaps a paragraph on U.S. energy policy and the obstacles it presents to local ownership. The blogger has linked to additional information, should the audience desire to read more; but I think a short synopsis of both points would help support his conclusion more strongly.

Lastly, the author presumes that readers are familiar with renewable energy in general, and wind energy projects in particular. Though the article appears in two energy focused publications (one solely focused on renewable energy), new readers may be at a disadvantage in reviewing the article by not having the same basic education that more knowledgeable viewers may have.

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1 Comment

Actually, should we not be surprised at results that tell us that the locally owned and managed system was perceived more favorably than the project remote owned and controlled. Townships and boroughs have been responsible for their own water and water treatment for years now. Why not energy as well? Is Energy something that has to come from and be managed afar? I think I have seen many more articles lately that have featured towns or cities that have become responsible for generating and managing their own power systems. Wouldn't it be interesting to follow this up?

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