Local engagement and success of small-scale renewable energy projects in remote areas: insights from Ramea’s wind energy projects

Ature, Abdul- Rasheed Abubakari (2022) Local engagement and success of small-scale renewable energy projects in remote areas: insights from Ramea’s wind energy projects. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Access to clean, affordable, and sustainable energy remains a significant challenge in off-grid areas across the world. As the energy transition progresses, relevant stakeholders in the energy sector have acknowledged the potential of small-scale renewable energy (SSRE) in addressing this challenge. However, studies have demonstrated situations where the development and uptake of some SSRE schemes fail to realize their intended purposes, especially due to ineffective local engagement by project proponents, and partly to capacity gaps of beneficiaries. Leveraging the cases of two wind energy demonstration projects in the Town of Ramea, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), this thesis investigates how the projects’ proponents engaged the community in the activities of the projects. It also explores the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of the projects, intending to unearth key factors that can impact the successes or failures of test projects. By using document reviews, site observation, and in-depth interviews with the various stakeholders of the projects, the study established that there was an early, genuine, and multi-faceted engagement with the local community. The community’s premium wind resources, coupled with both local and external interest in wind energy development, present key opportunities for the energy transition in the Town. Despite contributing to a reduction in the use of diesel, creation of employment, and the development of wind-hydrogen-diesel integration control technology, one of the projects has been discontinued due to technical challenges with part of the project’s equipment. Competing energy priorities, rate uniformity in NL, and large-sized diesel engines in Ramea significantly challenged the optimum integration of wind energy in the island’s electricity grid and limited the benefits the community enjoys from the projects. I conclude that effective local engagement may not be enough to ensure the success of SSRE projects in off-grid areas, recognizing that the proponents’ internal organizational issues and the broader energy ecosystem affect the success of demonstration projects as well.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/15351
Item ID: 15351
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 98-108).
Keywords: local/ community engagement, small-scale renewable energy projects, wind energy demonstration projects, Newfoundland and Labrador, off-grid communities/ Remote areas, community-led energy projects
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Policy Institute
Date: January 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/S36F-E430
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Renewable energy sources--Newfoundland and Labrador--Ramea; Small power production facilities--Newfoundland and Labrador--Ramea; Business enterprises--Newfoundland and Labrador--Ramea; Participation; Environmental management--Newfoundland and Labrador--Ramea; Political participation--Newfoundland and Labrador--Ramea.

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