Community benefit through community ownership of renewable generation in Scotland : power to the people?

McHarg, Aileen; Barrera-Hernandez, Lila and Barton, Barry and Godden, Lee and Lucas, Alastair and Rønne, Anita, eds. (2016) Community benefit through community ownership of renewable generation in Scotland : power to the people? In: Sharing the Costs and Benefits of Energy and Resource Activity. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198767954

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Abstract

Community ownership is being promoted by the Scottish Government as a means of delivering economic benefits to communities in which renewable electricity developments are situated. This paper argues that community ownership should be regarded as more than simply a strategy for increasing the public acceptability of renewable energy projects, but rather that has considerable transformative potential: for the economic sustainability of host communities; in relation to wider issues concerning the social distribution of power and resources; and for the energy industry itself. The paper discusses, first, the financial and other advantages of community ownership, as compared with more conventional methods of delivering community benefit. Second, it explores the relationship between community ownership of renewables and wider processes of land reform in Scotland. Finally, it considers the potential of community ownership to be the harbinger of a new model of 'energy democracy' which challenges the prevailing neo-liberal paradigm.