What factors enable community-leadership of renewable energy projects? Lessons from a woodfuel heating initiative
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Increasing renewable energy generation is fundamental to sustainable development as current reliance on fossil fuel combustion is an environmentally damaging, inequitable use of finite resources with far-reaching negative social impacts. To date, UK energy policy has sought to increase renewable energy capacity by encouraging large-scale commercially led developments. Recently, however, there has been growing interest in the scope for alternative small scale and community-led renewable energy development. This case study research from northwest England investigates the development of a community-led woodfuel heating project in a remote rural setting. Qualitative data from project participants’ interviews show the project was conceived as means of addressing multiple threats to the sustainability of their rural community. Participants’ vision of the project was found to fit the eco-economy paradigm.