Rethinking social acceptance of renewable energy

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Creative Sustainability
The importance of renewable energy development at the local level has been increasingly emphasized due to a rapid increase of human-driven CO2. However, public resistance to renewable energy resources has frequently evident in many places. This thesis defines that the current renewable energy regime is largely driven by governmental assistance and energy markets. The relationship between people and energy in this regime seems to be deliberate, separated and one-way. In order to reshape the human-energy relations towards more interactive, democratic and diverse options, this thesis proposes a Solar DIY Workshop, intended to enlighten participant’s understanding that renewable energy can be a collective and grassroots initiative through participation in a self-building activity. Overall, six Solar DIY workshops were held in different locations across Fin- land. Through action research and semi-structured interviews, this study concludes that understanding renewable energy as a common pool resource is achievable by participation in a workshop based self-building activity. Having a DIY activity with solar PVs can create a positive influence on participants’ attitude toward the technologies and increas- es the willingness of involvement in self-sufficient renewable energy production. Specifically, the DIY effectively empowers participants to play different roles, for example as energy producers, makers and organisers of the DIY workshop instead of act as mere customers. In addition, it was successful to increase interactions among participants and willingness to be part of community-led renewable energy initiatives. However, this study still finds some hesitation in participants’ attitude to engage in community-led renewable energy initiatives. In order to increase social acceptance of renewable energy at community level, further research should focus on how to increase the familiarity of community-led renewable energy.
Jalas, Mikko
Thesis advisor
Hector, Philip
social acceptance, renewable energy, common pool resource, DIY activity, user empowerment, community-led renewable energy