Díaz, Paula, Carolina Adler, & Anthony Patt (2017). Do stakeholders’ perspectives on renewable energy infrastructure pose a risk to energy policy implementation? A case of a hydropower plant in Switzerland. Energy Policy, 108, 21-28.

Abstract: As governments propose policies for increasing use of renewable energy, a key risk to policy implementation concerns potential conflicts amongst stakeholders, and public opposition to such policies. Adequately accounting for stakeholders’ values and interests is key to understanding whether stakeholders’ perspectives pose a risk to energy policy implementation. We present results from a case study on the implementation of a renewable energy project in Switzerland, where we applied Q methodology. Three perspectives were identified, namely: 1) promotion for local development and production of energy (‘Local pro-producers’); 2) promotion for a national level ‘greener’ environmental agenda (‘National greens’); and 3) regional government empowerment for implementing energy policies (‘Cantonal leverage’). These three perspectives reflect different sets of values and priorities for local, cantonal and national interests, revealing disagreements with the energy policy at different levels of government. The key basis for disagreement rests on which objectives of the policy to prioritize, i.e., energy efficiency, sustainable development, electricity reduction or production. Despite this disagreement, stakeholders largely agree on the importance of an inclusive and democratic decision process. These findings support calls for the explicit and systematic consideration for deep-seated values and perspectives amongst stakeholders on an evidentiary basis.

Paula Díaz <paula.diaz@usys.ethz.ch> is with the Climate Policy Group, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich [Swiss Federal Institute of Technology], Zurich, Switzerland.

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