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Sustainable Energy Solutions - the social aspects of planning with the community November 24-27, 2009, SOAC Conference, University of Western Australia,

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable Energy Solutions - the social aspects of planning with the community November 24-27, 2009, SOAC Conference, University of Western Australia,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable Energy Solutions - the social aspects of planning with the community November 24-27, 2009, SOAC Conference, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA

2 AGENDA  Contextual Background – Collaborative Planning  Evaluative Analyses – Deliberative Process  Conclusions – Research & Practice

3 Project Background  “Intelligent Grid-Distributed Energy” – CSIRO.  Efficient Electricity Grid – Low Emission!  Social Aspects: Planning - Sustainable Energy.  ENERGY GOVERNANCE – Public Participation - Planning - energy security - regional communities!  Deliberative process & outcomes – Western Power.  Abelson’s (2003) Deliberative Evaluative Framework!

4 Context – Power Working Group  Western Power – 2 regional SW region.  Outrage – Blackouts – Loss Income.  Edge of Grid – Reliability.  Establishment - Public Participation:  Typical stakeholders (Shire, Business, Government/NGOs).  14 Community A - 3 Community B  Representation - Impacts.  Representatives - Expertise.

5 Characteristics - Represenatives  Community A - Environmental activists & supporters – Values green solutions!  Community B -Councillor, CEO, Govt –  Neutral – Social/Economic.  WIN – Halt ‘Power Lines’  Feasibility – Local RE  AGENDA – Learning Curve.

6 PROCEDURAL ASPECTS - FORUMS  CHAIRED - steep learning curve.  OBSERVE - feedback – Model.  ISSUE – PROBLEMMATIC:  Representation – Differed Markedly:  14 V 3 representatives.  Human & Social Capital – Community A - Expertise RE systems.  knowledge & resources!  Early Adopters – political network.  Entrepreneurs - energy initiatives.

7 Community Expertise & Facilitation  Energy Efficient Educational Facility;  Government funding - community- owned wind farm.  Community A - numbers, status & expertise – influence – initiatives.  Community B less numbers & expertise – reliant facilitation skills!  CONSENSUS – feasibility planning  Deliberation - fair procedural process.

8 Facilitation & Power Dynamics  Community B – Aspirations ignored! -  Disempowerment & alienation – Disengage!  Acknowledged - uneven power dynamics!  CHANGE -power relationship “institution & community”.  INCORPORATED local knowledge - major cultural shift - governance relations!  INFLUENCE – management!  Satisfied - governance & energy goals!

9 Deliberative V Dominance  Effectiveness - Favoured – Missed Issue!  Powerful - deeply deliberative “open dialogue & reasoned discussion”.  DOMINATED - more powerful - skilled, neutral facilitator.  ATTRIBUTED – naivety!  FAIR - First time!  INEXPERIENCE – relied – experienced – process & initiatives!

10 DECISION UNDERMINED  EARLY - learning curve – Decisions - Undermined.  (a) participant selection - broader social mix  Representation – environmental!  Social & Economic - debated.  CHALLENGE – AFFECTED - not present!  PROCEDURAL – validity - energy visions.  FORUM - working week -working residents/business.  CHAIRED – AGENDA – Officers!

11 Wind Farm Initiative - Challenged  E.g. –Validity – challenged:  Wind farm project - Community A.  Backing – Government!  SITING - coastal landscape - powerful sectors!  Development - community support.  Site Selection – contentious!  Shire Rejected - politics.

12 PROCEDURAL FAILURES  FACTORS – key – Diverse Representation.  Accountability & Transparency Lacking:  Failed - regular feedback & input  acceptance & opposition.  Involved/Consulted - wind farm project!  Anti-Development Solution.  Opposed RE & EE - BARRIER economic growth!

13 Incorporating Diverse Needs & Interests  BUSINESS: power– applications rejected.  Social & economic- planning framework.  Sustainability- environmental, social, economic and governance!  “consensus is not necessary – but an effective deliberation process must include exposure of conflicts to provide the opportunity to understand it, in order to move respectfully (Carson, 2009).  “… without a very inclusive sample, the process will lack credibility amongst those who should be influenced” (Carson & Hartz-Karp, 2005).

14 Outcomes Community Engagement  Work in Progress –  E.g. Trust - positive relationship!  Empowered – responsive - Aspirations!  SPARKED - Educational initiatives - awareness -EE - RE technologies.  Proactive - community-wide approach - energy sensitive behavioural change!  Lobbying- Regulatory & Institutional constraints!

15 Positive Outcomes  Socio-political & institutional – “cultural transformation of mindset” - alternative solutions.  FLEXIBLE – options - coal fired power!  POSITIVE - individual, community & societal!  PROCEDURAL- transparent & accountable.  visions & priorities!  INEQUITY & UNDER-REPRESENTATION:  Location; Chair – rotated;  Feedback & Input; Diverse Representation – Local Media

16 Community Engagement Practitioners  VIGILANT -power & inclusivity.  DESIGNED - procedural justice!  FAILINGS – beneficial - EE solutions.  Institutional – mindset changes - community aspirations - sustainable energy transition!  Community A – Leading – Strategies – Behavioural Changes – Reduce Consumption & GHG emissions!  FORUM - collaborative planning – groundwork -acceptance -alternative energy solutions.

17 Barriers – Sustainable Energy Planning  DEMONSTRATE - economic growth not curtailed  fierce local opposition.  DILEMMA - Twin Demands:  - Reducing ghg emissions & energy consumption  Growth – energy demand.  Political pressures:  green sector – frustrated -small scale efforts!  pro-development – planning – inability – current & future growing energy needs.

18 Conclusion  PRECARIOUS – Plan Energy Security – Options – NOT constrain Economy Regions!  COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT – VITAL – Strategies!  DIFFICULTIES – Opportunity – Community Ownership – Planning Future!  RESEARCH – “dynamics at play” – Civil Society Sectors!  SOCIALLY JUST - process and outcome - most vulnerable in the power of politics!

19 Thank you For more information on the iGrid Research program: The website address is This forms part of our overall communications strategy. The website is a vehicle for dissemination cluster research findings and to facilitate the engagement with key industry stakeholders.


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