KEY FACTORS FOR SUCCESS IN CONTESTED GREEN PROJECTS
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this thesis is to understand why non-polluting energy facilities in Europe are not always well accepted notwithstanding their positive effect on greenhouse gas reduction and their contribution to transforming the EU into a thriving society, as intended by the European Green Deal. The thesis draws on public acceptance theory and has been conducted as a two-step Case Study, namely, the deployment of renewable energy facilities in La Rioja, a Spanish region wherein two waves of wind and solar energy plants – during the 2000s and the 2020s – have enjoyed very different degrees of public support. The research design has included (1) a quantitative survey – with the help of an online questionnaire – aimed at discovering which values influence public acceptance, and (2) a qualitative study – through in-depth semi-structured interviews – intended to confirm the quantitative analysis results, and also to find out which policies deliver, and which actors can facilitate their implementation. The study has identified environmental (perceived) fairness as the key factor affecting the process, mainly distributive fairness, though, procedural fairness is always required, while trust in public administration and projects may also help gain public support. The study has determined the necessity for policies relying on spatial planning and legal schemes designed to select the best projects, along with pedagogic work. Finally, the analysis highlights the importance of local authorities as key facilitators in the process whereas influential (local) stakeholders could derail the process owing to their leverage or their capacity to disseminate their ideas on the Internet.
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