MUNICIPAL / LOCAL PROGRAMMES
Moderator: Linda Dethman, Research Into Action
Come join us for a session that will give you terrific insights about local and municipal sustainability, renewable energy, and energy efficiency efforts — both their successes and pitfalls!
We will lead off with Andrew Reeve’s evaluation of a food, energy, and water sustainability initiative in a UK market town, exploring its impacts and how to evaluate them. The study draws upon in-depth participant observation over four years, analysis of project documentation and the reflections of project stakeholders. It analyses project impacts through three lenses: the process of project delivery; progress towards project-defined outcomes and indicators; and the concept of capacity building for sustainable living.
Findings show the project’s ability to build social capital, which in turn increased the capacity for sustainable living, was the project’s key impact. The paper makes the case that evaluation of such initiatives should focus on issues of process, indirect impacts and capacity building for sustainable living, rather than relying only on short term impacts such as energy savings.
Robert Harmsen will then present a rich evaluation of the development and operation of one of the most contested wind farms in the Netherlands – Wind Farm Houten (WFH). The research team used an in-depth approach, reconstructing WFH’s planning and development phase from archived documentation and stakeholder interviews; analyzing four surveys of residents; and assessing WFH’s operational data to determine the impact of and compliance with a tailored noise regulation.
The evaluation explains why Houten’s community acceptance of the wind farm remains low, despite the accepted belief that wind farm acceptance is positive prior to project start-up, turns more negative after project announcement, and becomes more positive “some reasonable time” after construction. Study findings resulted in the Town Council directing the responsible Alderman to work with the Board, the wind farm operator, and the residents to “regain the trust of the residents.” At the time this paper, the negotiations to rebuild this trust are ongoing.
Theresa-Maria Weinsziehr’s presentation will examine the non-energy co-benefits and adverse side effects of energy retrofits and their relevance for local decision makers (such as mayors and heads of energy and building companies) who are key to ensuring low carbon efforts take place. Her talk will examine the views of 30 local actors in small-sized German cities and evaluate which effects are relevant to them.
Key findings show various local actors perceive the effects of energy refurbishment very differently and that their concerns need to be addressed with actor specific communication. Findings also show respondents were also more focused on local adverse side effects than on co-benefits, compared to a more positive emphasis in the evaluation literature. Finally, while many locally relevant effects are discussed in literature (such as the landlord-tenant dilemma and re-and pre-bound effects), the study suggests other effects deserve further research (such as the value of increased attractiveness of the building stock).
PAPERS / PRESENTATIONS
Sowing Seeds and Promising a Harvest: Learning from the Delivery and Evaluation of a Local Sustainability Transition Initiative in the UK [paper] [presentation]
Andrew Reeves, Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Andrew Mitchell, Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Evaluation of a Dutch Wind Farm: Lessons for National Onshore Wind Policies [paper] [presentation]
Robert Harmsen, Frank van Rijnsoever
Kevin Broecks Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University
Local Co-Benefits and Adverse Side-Effects of Energy Retrofits: The Perspective of Actors in German Small-Sized Cities [paper]
Theresa-Maria Weinsziehr, Institute for Infrastructure and Resources Management, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Thomas Bruckner, Institute for Infrastructure and Resources Management, University of Leipzig