Social Acceptance of Renewable Electricity Developments in New Zealand

Funding Body New Zealand Government?s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)
Total Contract Value $50,000
Start Date March 2010
End Date
November 2010
Principal Investigator
Janet Stephenson
Staff Involved
Janet Stephenson, Maria Ioannou

Brief Abstract

This scoping project brings together data on renewable energy projects in New Zealand over the past 10 years, draws together empirical data on public resistance levels as shown through appeals and submissions, and investigates whether there are any dominating reasons evident for public resistance.  This will be contrasted with a similar study undertaken in the EU.

Relevant Link: ,

This research, commissioned by EECA, examined whether societal acceptance issues are significantly limiting the establishment of new renewable electricity generation (REG) projects in New Zealand and identified the key characteristics of social acceptance/resistance to REG in the New Zealand context. 

The project drew inspiration in part from Create Acceptance[1] ( a project funded through the European Commission?s 6th Framework Programme), which set out to examine why in practice many renewable energy projects in Europe were facing strong resistance from stakeholders that often proved to be a far bigger stumbling block than either technology or costs.  Conditions in Europe are not the same in New Zealand, and EECA felt that there was a lack of clarity around whether a lack of social acceptance was causing problems for achieving targets for the types of REG that are being driven forward in New Zealand.

Through this research, Dr Stephenson and Maria Ioannou established some empirical and qualitative evidence of acceptance (and resistance) relating to REG projects (hydro dams, wind farms, geothermal and marine energy) over the past ten years.  Their research also looked to identify what types of socially determined issues pose significant barriers for REG developments, and whether this differed between the different types of renewable energy.


Social acceptance of renewable electricity developments in New Zealand  ? A report prepared for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority by Dr Janet Stephenson and Maria Ioannou, November 2010 (hyperlink to PDF janet just sent)

Conference presentations

Social acceptance of renewable electricity developments in New Zealand  ?  Otago Energy Research Centre Symposium, November 2010

Other presentations

Social acceptance of renewable electricity developments in New Zealand  ?  New Zealand Wind Energy Association Seminar to the wind industry, March 2011

Social acceptance of renewable electricity developments in New Zealand ? presentation to EECA staff and industry bodies, September 2010