Wind energy development brings a new set of natural resource management challenges to land managers and policy-makers. This paper assesses the use of so-called community liaison committees as a public participation mechanism to reduce social friction during wind energy development in Ontario, Canada. Establishing these committees has become a condition of regulatory approval for wind projects, but little is known about the scope, purpose, composition and effectiveness of these committees. This paper finds that the committees are marginally effective, but they are limited by the tight control exerted by project proponents on representation and scope of the committee. None of the theoretical benefits expected from public participation in terms of improved decision-making or increased democratic capacity appear to be achieved by the community committees. The paper offers contributions to the environmental study literature in two areas: improved understanding of the mechanisms of renewable energy governance and a multi-case study critique of a public participation tool used in environmental and land use decision-making processes.
Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2016
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