The Role of Public Participation in Identifying Stakeholder Synergies in Renewable Energy Project Development: the Case Study of Ontario, Canada
Over the past several decades, the scope of decision-making in the public domain has changed from a focus on unilateral regulatory verdicts to a more comprehensive process that engages all stakeholders. Consequently, there has been a distinct increase in public participation in the environmental decision-making process. While the potential benefits of public engagement are substantial in terms of identifying synergies between public and industry stakeholders that encourage project development, this participation does not come without its challenges. To meet global energy demands and fulfill ambitious targets for greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy has received increased attention as a feasible alternative to non-renewable electrical generation. However, current literature on renewable energy highlights potential technological, economic, social, or public barriers to renewable energy investment. This research provides a case study of the Ontario, Canada renewable energy generation market and identifies the facilitators and constrainers that affected public input to renewable energy project development in this Province and to provide guidance for developers on improving public consultation in the renewable energy project development decision-making process.