All for sun, sun for all : can community energy help to overcome socioeconomic inequalities in low-carbon technology subsidies?

Stewart, Fraser (2021) All for sun, sun for all : can community energy help to overcome socioeconomic inequalities in low-carbon technology subsidies? Energy Policy, 157. 112512. ISSN 0301-4215

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    Abstract

    Can community energy help to overcome inequalities in who benefits from low-carbon technologies? Research has shown that the distribution of low-carbon technology subsidies and their associated benefits can be highly uneven across socioeconomic groups, revealing a persistent inequality issue. Yet this research has tended to focus almost exclusively on adoption of technologies at the household-level, with limited insights into whether and how this distribution might differ in the case of community energy. To address this, this paper quantitatively investigates the distribution of payments to household- and community-level energy systems across socioeconomic groups in Scotland under the UK government feed-in-tariff. Analysis is conducted on a novel dataset of 26,218 household and community wind and solar installations across 6,976 micro-level data-zones using a combination of distributional analysis and random effects within-between regression. It finds that feed-in-tariff payments for household-level wind and solar PV systems have heavily benefitted more affluent socioeconomic groups, while payments to community energy projects have flowed more consistently into areas of higher deprivation, particularly in the case of community solar. These findings suggest that community energy has been successful in bringing the benefits of low-carbon technologies to areas of lower income and higher deprivation, with important lessons for policymakers concerned with a just transition going forward.

    ORCID iDs

    Stewart, Fraser ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6779-0380;