Acceptance Issues in the Transition to Renewable Energy: How Law Supposedly can Manage Local Opposition

Renewable energy projects are increasingly confronted by persistent resistance from local communities, which delays and sometimes even prevents their implementation. This reflects the frequent gap between support for the general idea of renewables as a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and acceptance of renewable energy installations in the local landscape.

For more than a decade, the Danish Renewable Energy Act has applied various financial measures to promote local acceptance. A general characteristic of the measures is their compensatory purpose, which presupposes that renewable energy facilities have negative impacts. The current toolbox includes instruments aimed at compensating individual house owners for specific financial losses, as well as measures that in more general terms, and ex post, compensate for non-financial impacts. Nevertheless, the toolbox is not yet fully developed and there is a need for further understanding of how different measures work, also in relation to more recently introduced renewables within the local acceptance framework of the Renewable Energy Act, such as solar power. Suggestions are made for the development of more dynamic and flexible regulatory approaches that would include individualized measures tailored to meet the distinct needs of local communities or individual landowners.

Birgitte Egelund Olsen