Reducing carbon emissions does not necessarily make renewable energy (RE) socially acceptable. All energy technologies involve environmental costs and risks to public health. For example solar and wind technologies — which are the main focus of this piece — have environmental and health impacts such as land and materials use, biodiversity, wind blade recycling, and also may face community opposition. The notion that RE might empower individuals and enable environmental sustainability, but that it can also generate durable contention, becomes apparent in the size and design of projects themselves. Indeed, unmet local concerns may entail costly project delays or cancellation. Thus strong political and financial incentives encourage state authorities and RE developers to address issues of social acceptance.
Engineers and Social Acceptance of Renewable Energy