20 April 2012, North Unst Public Hall
Sustainable Development and Renewable Energies: Perceptions and Powers in Island Communities.
Paper by Geoff Whittam (University of the West of Scotland, Scotland), Kathryn A. Burnett (University of the West of Scotland, Scotland), and Mike Danson (University of the West of Scotland, Scotland)
This paper examines the development of renewable energy schemes in the islands of the north west of Scotland, and in particular explores the impacts of different forms of community, cooperative, corporate and private ownership and investment on the distribution of benefits to local people. Using asset management approaches to analyse how alternative ownership patterns of land and resources and of renewable energy initiatives may affect local communities, it seeks to identify the advantages and costs of pursuing different models of development based on these contrasting forms of ownership. Attention is also paid to how local communities engage with these debates and decisions by analysing the public discourse on proposed renewable schemes, with reference to digital broadcast, print, and new media forms. The paper therefore addresses three key issues: which renewables projects are chosen and how are they structured and managed; what revenue flows are generated and how are these distributed; and finally, in relation to the above, some comment on how ‘public’ perceptions are both constructed and managed across media forms in relation to renewable energy and island communities in Scotland.