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Wind farms in rural areas: How far do community benefits from wind farms represent a local economic development opportunity?

Munday, Maxim C. R. ORCID:, Bristow, Gillian Irene ORCID: and Cowell, Richard John Westley ORCID: 2011. Wind farms in rural areas: How far do community benefits from wind farms represent a local economic development opportunity? Journal of Rural Studies 27 (1) , pp. 1-12. 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2010.08.003

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Although the large-scale deployment of renewable technologies can bring significant, localised economic and environmental changes, there has been remarkably little empirical investigation of the rural development implications. This paper seeks to redress this through an analysis of the economic development opportunities surrounding wind energy development in rural Wales. The paper concludes that the economic development outcomes to rural areas from wind generation projects to date have been questionable. Increasing the flow of conventional economic benefits to rural economies in terms of incomes and jobs is shown to be difficult because of the nature of the local supply side in remote areas. Partially as a consequence of this, developers of wind farms have come to routinely provide diverse forms of community benefits to ‘affected communities’, but these have yet to evolve into significant tools of economic development. In any case, the flows of revenues from community benefits are dwarfed, in quantitative terms, by the revenue streams that might be channelled to rural areas through a broader community ownership of wind energy projects. However, although a few local successes have been achieved, the scope for realising the returns from community ownership remains low in the Welsh case, with a series of impediments considered. We close the paper by suggesting means through which economic outputs might be improved.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS)
Business (Including Economics)
Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wind energy; Rural economy; Wales; Community benefits
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0743-0167
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 12:35

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