Community renewable energy and rural resilience in North America and Western Europe

Islam, Mohammad Nazrul (2023) Community renewable energy and rural resilience in North America and Western Europe. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This research seeks to address the role that a decentralized, democratic renewable energy system, i.e., Community Renewable Energy (CRE), can have (and that such systems have had) in enhancing rural resilience in North America and Western Europe. In both settings, it further examines how different conditions influence the growth and maturity of CREs in specific contexts, as well as why certain CRE initiatives have been effective in achieving intended community results while others have not. Derived from existing literature, this study formulates a conceptual framework for application. Through a systematic review based on a four-step process, including identification of data sources, screening, eligibility and inclusion, and analysis, the study found that CRE significantly impacts rural resilience, including diversity, networks and connectivity, equalization and adaptive capacity. However, diversity is the major contribution of CRE, followed by networks and connectivity, equalization, and adaptive capacity. CRE assists in enhancing rural diversity, particularly economic diversity and regional development, along with energy diversity. This diversity, in turn, affects various networks and connectivity and facilitates energy justice, including procedural and distributional justice. Consequently, there can be a desirable effect of assisting rural community self-organization and enhancing their social learning processes; subsequently, local community adaptability, including the ability to learn to survive in a challenging and uncertain environment, is increased. Various contextual, motivational and project-related factors, particularly policy, the culture of localism and trust, access to natural resources, and economic regeneration, including ownership structure, are the most important for achieving community benefits from CRE in North America and Western Europe. While Western Europe has effectively implemented CRE projects through these factors, North American jurisdictions have faced impediments in achieving comparable results due to the influence of these factors.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 16290
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 190-214)
Keywords: community renewable energy, decentalized and democratic energy, energy resilience, energy policy, rural resilience, Canada, energy justice, Western Europe, factors of renewable energy
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Policy Institute
Date: September 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Renewable energy sources--Europe, Western; Renewable energy sources--North America; Cooperative societies--Europe, Western; Cooperative societies--North America; Energy policy--Europe, Western; Energy policy--North America; Europe, Western--Rural conditions; North America--Rural conditions

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