Governments in several European countries have developed policies that encourage companies to share ownership of renewable energy projects with local communities. Shared ownership presumes that company and community actors have common goals, can form effective partnerships and negotiate fair outcomes. But there is a lack of research on shared ownership, in particular, how it is constructed by different actors, and the role of trust in shaping practice. This study addressed this gap, drawing on qualitative data from in-depth interviews with 19 UK stakeholders from industry, community and advisory backgrounds. Thematic analysis revealed strong support for shared ownership in principle, but significant challenges in practice. Actors held different rationales and contrasting views on whether the policy should be discretionary or mandatory. A lack of trust was prevalent, with developers expressing skepticism regarding the capacities and representativeness of community actors; and community actors viewing developers as solely motivated by profit, instrumentally using communities to gain planning consent. We conclude that for shared ownership to become conventional practice, it will be necessary to provide mechanisms that facilitate partner identification at an early stage, which can help to build relations of trust between actors, within a more stable and supportive policy context.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Shared ownership, Renewable energy, Community energy, Trust, Justice
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/1765/130175
Journal Energy Research & Social Science
Citation
Goedkoop, F., & Devine-Wright, P. (2016). Partnership or placation? The role of trust and justice in the shared ownership of renewable energy projects. Energy Research & Social Science, 17, 135–146. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/130175