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Social Acceptance of Renewable Energy

Recommended steps

Defining common welfare in the process

There is no universal, step-by-step guide that could explain how to deal with energy conflicts. The reason for this is that energy conflicts are complex and play out differently in each community. Therefore solutions need to be defined locally for each case. However, the timing for the definition of the common welfare is rather clear. It should take place before the technical planning process.


Defining common welfare in a community


It is important for a community to identify what various functions RES can provide it. More specifically, the private and public interests these functions address in the community and beyond, and what common welfare of community members can be identified at the interface between these interests, should be defined. There are certain strategies that have proven successful when defining common welfare and fostering acceptance.

The definition of common welfare in the community, an important step towards social acceptance, should take place at the beginning of a project. Public participation that takes place too late in the project cycle is often perceived as a cosmetic measure in the project development and can lead to opposition. Therefore, reserving time at the beginning of the planning process for agreeing on a definition of the common welfare is crucial.

Furthermore, it pays off to be conscious of the time factor because the implementation of renewable energy projects and the definition of common welfare do not develop linearly. There will be milestones, hot and cold phases and windows of opportunity. Using these different time elements in a constructive manner can be essential for successful project implementation.

Additionally, the process of defining the common welfare in a community always takes place within a given framework of election cycles, deadlines for planning permissions, handling time within an administration and other procedures. This external timeframe greatly affects the process of defining the common welfare and should therefore be kept in mind and monitored closely. A participatory process needs to be adapted to this external timeframe.

To effectively include all relevant stakeholders in the implementation of your action:


  1. Prepare - decide on the intended outcomes and priorities you want to achieve.
  2. Identify stakeholders - make a decision on who you want to engage (which stakeholders).
  3. Develop a plan for engagement - who, when, what, with what money and what human resources.
  4. Start the engagement process.
  5. Evaluate the process.
  6. Continue engagement with stakeholders – and keep them informed!


Image: Covenant capaCITY - Stakeholders´engagement process - Online training platform





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