Promoting Renewable Energy in Community Buy-Out Areas in the Highlands & Islands - Mike Danson
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Promoting Renewable Energy in Community Buy-Out Areas in the Highlands & Islands - Mike Danson



Professor Mike Danson, from the University of the West of Scotland, talks about promoting renewable energy in community buy-out areas in Scotland....

Professor Mike Danson, from the University of the West of Scotland, talks about promoting renewable energy in community buy-out areas in Scotland.

The Whose Economy? seminars, organised by Oxfam Scotland and the University of the West of Scotland, brought together experts to look at recent changes in the Scottish economy and their impact on Scotland's most vulnerable communities.

Held over winter and spring 2010-11 in Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow and Stirling, the series posed the question of what economy is being created in Scotland and, specifically, for whom?

To find out more and view other Whose Economy? papers, presentations and videos visit:



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Promoting Renewable Energy in Community Buy-Out Areas in the Highlands & Islands - Mike Danson Promoting Renewable Energy in Community Buy-Out Areas in the Highlands & Islands - Mike Danson Presentation Transcript

  • Mike DansonUniversity of the West of Scotland UWS and Oxfam Seminar Series Whose Economy? Friday 25th March 2011 UHI, Inverness
  •  Peripheral and marginal regions inappropriate application of core values, processes and strategies belief that ideas, innovation etc flows from core → periphery Gaelic language and economic development survived especially in Gàidhealtachd but also in industrial cities by innovation and adaptation Land reform against 200 years of landlordism, clearances, degradation of land and communities Local and regional economic development researching and applying lessons across boundaries of importance of enterprise, social capital, assets
  •  Issue: Ownership of land and assets stifling enterprise and sustainable community development, and natural environment - degradation of flora, fauna, landscapes, land through ownership of land for „consumption of [private] leisure‟ Solution: „community buy-out‟ or common ownership But classical issue over land held in common economic literature identifies „The Tragedy of the Commons‟ Argument that, without recognisable stewardship, land and resources can be over-utilised cf. under- utilised under private landlordism
  •  „The Tragedy‟ highlights the issue that .. “different interest groups with different agendas, have conflicting opinions on certain issues” (Morgan- Davies and Waterhouse 2010) and under private ownership / landlords no forum to resolve conflicts Solution offered by the right to buy (CRtB) legislation permitting communities to own and manage the land Necessitates the establishment of companies, limited by guarantee, to manage the common resource
  •  Scottish Land Fund (financed from the national lottery) administered by state regional development agencies. Aims to contribute to sustainable development in rural Scotland by assisting communities to acquire, develop and manage local land or land assets. Pioneering in stimulating investment in community development
  •  Slee report (2008) highlights the main feature of CRtB “In particular, community ownership and involvement were promoted as means of overcoming possible constraints imposed by restrictive tenancy agreements and landlord monopoly control of land and development opportunities.”
  • Change in ownership led to: New governance structures to facilitate change Release of energy and enthusiasm in remote areas for new enterprises, alternative energy sources and increased social capital (Callaghan, Danson and Whittam, Scottish Affairs, 2011)But new constraints Resources especially financial: land has no value because of CRtB, so no collateral for loans Volunteer burn-out small remote communities Disagreements and conflicts, problems exaggerated in small remote communities
  •  "To focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. Wealthier and Fairer : "Enable businesses and people to increase their wealth and more people to share fairly in that wealth." Healthier : "Help people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care." Safer and Stronger : "Help local communities to flourish, becoming stronger, safer place to live, offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life." Smarter : "Expand opportunities for Scots to succeed from nurture through to life long learning ensuring higher and more widely shared achievements." Greener : "Improve Scotlands natural and built environment and the sustainable use and enjoyment of it."
  •  Renewables ~ sustainable economic growth for Scotland ... plan seeks to drive low carbon energy production, in a way which capitalises on Scotlands unique resources, and delivers maximum benefit to her people and her economy (Scottish Government’s ‘Renewables Action Plan’) Forestry ~ Scotland is a relatively lightly wooded country. It was not always so and the current situation is the result of centuries of deforestation, largely as a result of man’s activities... [woodland cover] is about half of the average of other EU countries and less than one quarter of the woodland area that once covered much of Scotland’s land surface. (Scottish Government‟s „Rationale for Woodland Expansion‟) Governance ~ land reform (from 2003), five strategic objectives
  •  23rd September the First Minister, Alex Salmond, announced new target of 80% of electricity from renewables by 2020 was being set by the Scottish Government. "Scotland is ideally placed to help lead the renewables revolution and taking account of the levels of planned investment over the next decade.” Research commissioned by the trade agency, Scottish Renewables, into the countrys renewable energy potential, which includes power drawn from wind, tidal, wave and hydro turbines, and energy from waste and biomass confirmed that the 2007 target of sourcing 50% of electricity power needs from green sources within 10 years could easily be reached. It said it should achieve 31% by next year
  •  to provide unambiguous backing for the renewable energy sector, driving progress and identifying and overcoming obstacles to energy generation, business success, jobs growth, and carbon reductions; to coordinate and facilitate the highest degree of partnership working across the public sector, with increasing alignment behind the Governments renewables objectives, and our binding Climate Change obligations; to provide the most coherent interface possible with the private sector, building on the strong existing connections between agencies and organisations, including public/private partnership working in key areas such as technology development; to reinforce the role of the Energy Advisory Board, and its Renewable Energy sub-group the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland ( FREDS), as the "centre of gravity" for renewables in Scotland; to lead by example in exploiting renewables potential on the public estate.
  • Vision : To maximise the benefits for communities from renewable energy, not only in terms of access to locally produced low carbon energy, but in terms of social cohesion and economic development.
  • Headline Ambitions: added value for communities: including, increased skills base for local trades, a stronger partnership within communities delivering wider social and economic benefits from renewable projects, and greater awareness within communities of renewables and climate change; a reduction in reliance on imported energy by making communities more self sufficient on meeting their own energy needs, particularly in off-gas grid areas; an increase in renewable energy capacity in Scotland, contributing towards renewable targets in Scotland; a reduction in energy bills.
  • The Impact of Community Energy Projects – An Initial Review Summary Report –September 2010 Produced for Community Energy Scotland by Aigas Associates
  • Awareness and support for the group and our work has increased. 53.9%The group now has more enthusiasm and a renewed sense of purpose 48.1%The group is financially more self sustaining 40.4%More people from the wider community have become involved in our work 34.6%The group has gained new membership 23.1%There has been no change 15.4%
  •  Assynt Crofters Trust (1993) Knoydart Foundation (1999) Isle of Gigha Trust (2002) North Harris Trust (2003) Assynt Foundation (2004)
  •  Renewable energy Entrepeneurialism (mainly tourist related) Forestry Generational thinking and planning Social capital
  •  “Owning the land, having the security of knowing it‟ll still be there in 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 years time allows you to make these longer term commitments.”
  •  Great achievements Economic difficulties Social difficulties Uncertain funding
  •  Extend CRtB across Scotland? Lessons from remote rural to peri-urban and lowland Scotland Renewables, forestry, governance Asset disposal programmes from local government, Scottish Government, MoD Lessons from Nordic Europe (and beyond) Wider roles, externalities and spillovers
  • To view all the papers in the Whose Economy series click hereTo view all the videos and presentations from the seminars click here