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Policy / Just transition

Early engagement of local communities is crucial for developing renewables

A joint paper by the World Resources Institute and Ørsted lays out recommendations for how governments can improve public support for the energy transition, highlighting the importance of community engagement.

Local governments must engage with local communities early in the development of clean energy projects or run the risk of resistance and delays to implementation, say the not-for-profit World Resources Institute and Danish power company Ørsted.

Members of the Munduruku indigenous tribe protest against the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Tapajos River in the Amazon rainforest. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A working paper, published this week by the organisations, identifies community concerns over renewable energy projects as a key challenge inhibiting the decarbonisation of the power sector.

Planning processes often fail to take account of public and stakeholder worries about potential local impacts, it states. The subsequent opposition can lead to considerable delays in projects being built.

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The report recommends that governments adopt standardised renewable energy permitting and planning processes that factor in local socio-economic and environmental impacts, and encourage the participation of residents and other stakeholders.