A Voice for the Community: Public Participation in Wind Energy Development
Wright, Zena M
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Wind energy is expanding globally and locally in Atlantic Canada. It is a promising emission-free energy alternative in a context of increasing climate change concerns. Public surveys have reported high levels of public acceptance for wind energy in general; however, this acceptance has not always been reflected in community responses to local wind projects. Public participation has been proposed as an approach for addressing the “gap” between public support and local opposition. However, public participation must not be solely viewed as a means of removing opposition but rather as the democratic right of local communities to influence decision-making processes. This paper proposes that the participatory processes currently available to host communities are limited in form and substance. Increasing the quality and quantity of public participation would provide a range of benefits, including moving towards the larger societal goal of true public governance of natural resources and the environmental.