Pavlowsky C, Koch J, Gliedt T., 2023, “Place Attachment and Social Barriers to Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development: A Social-Ecological Systems Analysis of a Failed Wind Energy Project in the South-Central United States” Socio-Ecological Practice Research
Transitioning to a sustainable energy production system is an integral component of mitigating climate change impacts. Increasing renewable energy development – such as large-scale wind farms — is a vital part of this transition. Wind energy development is often controversial due to local pushback to the proposed installations. This phenomenon of local opposition is characterized as Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY). Here, we used Ostrom’s Social-Ecological System (SES) framework to conduct a structured analysis of anti-wind energy development narratives associated with the failed Wind Catcher Project in the south-central region of the United States of America (USA). Our findings indicate that local values and perceptions of social and economic resources are the most critical factors explaining opposition to wind energy development, with little weight placed on environmental concerns. The wind farm, turbines, and associated transmission lines were seen as a threat to people’s way of life and their perception of place. In addition, past experiences with volatile energy prices caused distrust of long-term projections on cost savings. Our analysis suggests that new energy development projects must include open discussions with local stakeholders, more thoughtful consideration of opposing arguments and concerns, and acknowledgment of local place-attachment to avoid pushback.
Pavlowsky C, Gliedt T., 2021, “Individual and local scale interactions and adaptations to wind energy development: A case study of Oklahoma, USA” Geography and Sustainability, 2(3) 175-181
Wind energy development receives broad support but is often opposed at the local level due to nuisance concerns and uncertainties about how it affects the landowners living due to the turbines and the broader community. Local opposition to wind energy development can be a powerful force slowing or even ending its implementation in a given region. Oklahoma, USA is currently ranked as 4th in the United States in current wind energy production and has seen significant pushback from some local communities as a renewable energy resource. Previous studies have examined wind energy development’s impact on rural education income, and property values of different communities in Oklahoma. However, funding information on how wind energy development affects the individuals living alongside the turbines are limited. Using fifteen interviews with landowners, site-managers, community representatives, and pro-wind non-profit organization representatives, this study finds that individuals who live in proximity to wind energy development, particularly those involved in the agricultural industry, have created novel and unique uses for wind farm infrastructure. It also finds that local perceptions of wind energy production are mostly positive and provides increased knowledge of how wind energy development affects the individuals and communities that are hosting the turbines and related infrastructure.
Burch C, Loraamm R, Gliedt T., 2020, “The “green on green” conflict in wind energy development: A case study of environmentally conscious individuals in Oklahoma, USA” Sustainability, 12, 8184
Development in wind energy technology and deployment of infrastructure reduces reliance on fossil fuels and can further energy security goals. Wind energy, however, can conflict with other green interests. The goal of this research was to examine the perceptions of environmentally conscious individuals at the intersection of wind energy development and biodiversity conservation interests. A majority of respondents identified that they cared very much about both renewable energy development as well as biodiversity conservation. We found that while participants were aware of the shifting causes of mortality of bird populations, they were less aware of the implications of wind energy on bat populations. In addition, attitudes towards biodiversity conservation as well as wind energy development were statistically significant when looking at the identification of some impacts. Most participants were willing to support wind energy development considering trade-offs related to factors such as visual impacts or economic benefits if it had no impacts on biodiversity conservation. Our research shows that environmentally conscious individuals are well-informed on only some impacts of wind energy development. Results also suggest that biodiversity conservation impacts are prioritized by environmentally conscious individuals when gauging support for wind energy development. As sustainable development continues, it is important to consider this green on green conflict, as renewable energy development is not only confronted by general issues of public opposition, but also specific environmental complaints.
Gliedt T, Hoicka C.E., Jackson N., 2018, “Innovation intermediaries accelerating environmental sustainability transitions” Journal of Cleaner Production, 174, 1247-1261
Institutions in the United States are undergoing modifications that present direct challenges for the environment and society and may result in institutional uncertainty and instability. This article explores whether innovation intermediaries can be employed as a key component of a strategy to create a window of opportunity for green job creation, infrastructure changes, and technological innovation in response to these types of institutional modifications. Based on a systematic literature review, this article outlines a framework that combines institutional modifications with technological innovation and infrastructure development as part of an economic development strategy. Important findings are that connections between innovation intermediaries, such as incubator and accelerator centers, niche actors, such as green champions, and regime actors, such as policy entrepreneurs, show potential to contribute to a green economic development strategy but require further examination for the specific roles played by policy entrepreneurs to help create the conditions for scaling niche experiments and simultaneously disrupting the regime. The key contribution is in defining the role of sustainability-oriented innovation intermediaries at linking local, state and business actions in order to scale-up and influence green economic development in a politically feasible manner during times of institutional uncertainty and instability.
Castleberry B, Gliedt T, Greene S.J., 2016, “Assessing drivers and barriers of energy-saving measures in Oklahoma’s public schools” Energy Policy, 88, 216-228
Implementing energy conservation initiatives within public schools, including both behavioral changes as well as building retrofits, can generate cost saving and educational benefits. However, the level of energy efficiency improvements that can be achieved may depend on the socio-economic characteristics of the school or the underlying district. The purpose of this research is to identify and examine the factors that have a role in influencing the adoption of energy-saving practices and/or building retrofits within Oklahoma’s public schools. In order to investigate these factors, a survey was administered to public school administrators across the state. The results illustrate different factors that drive schools to make decisions associated with energy conservation and retrofitting efforts. A comparative analysis between different types of schools (e.g., rural vs. urban, low- vs. high-income) was also conducted to discover the combination of characteristics that are associated with energy-saving measures. The findings could help school administrators and teachers understand how they might adopt new behaviors or technologies.
Gliedt T, Hoicka C, 2015, “Energy upgrades as financial or strategic investment? Energy Star property owners and managers improving building energy performance” Applied Energy, 147, 430-443
Due to its significant carbon footprint and cost-effectiveness for upgrades, the commercial property sector is important for climate change mitigation. Although barriers to energy system changes, such as funding, financing and information, are well recognized, Energy Star property owners and managers are successfully overcoming these barriers and instigating energy efficiency upgrades, renewable energy installations, and behavior and management programs. To examine the decision-making process that leads to energy performance improvements, a national survey of property owners and management organizations of buildings that earned an Energy Star score of 75 or higher was conducted. The extent to which energy upgrades were considered strategic investments motivated by environmental sustainability or corporate social responsibility, or financial investments motivated by payback period or return-on-investment criteria, was contingent upon the property type and type of energy project. Environmental sustainability was found to be an important motivation for energy projects in office spaces in general, but in the case of smaller office spaces was often combined with motivations for corporate social responsibility. Energy projects on education properties were motivated by financial investment. Building envelope and mechanical efficiency upgrades were considered financial investments, while renewable energy, green roofs, and water conservation technologies were considered environmental sustainability initiatives.
Solar garden, photo courtesy of SunShare Community Solar
Gliedt T, Parker P, 2010, “Dynamic capabilities for strategic green advantage: Green electricity purchasing in North American firms, SMEs, NGOs and agencies” Global Business and Economics Review, 12(3), 171-195
North American businesses, social economy organisations and government agencies are tackling the challenges of declining non-renewable energy resources and climate change by voluntarily purchasing green electricity (GE). This study uses a survey of 213 organisations that voluntarily purchase GE to test the influence of green institutional and green resource-based factors on the purchase decision. Components of green institutional theory and the green resource-based view of the firm were found to have only a secondary or indirect influence on the voluntary decision to purchase GE. In contrast, the overwhelming importance attributed by respondents to the role of champions suggests that internal agency should be incorporated into future studies examining voluntary environmental decisions from an organisational perspective. The dynamic capabilities process, defined as the interaction between champions and environmental structures, can generate strategic green advantage if champions use environmental structures to emphasise: 1) environmental benefits; 2) marketing and green image benefits; 3) the GE purchase as a hedge against fossil-fuel price uncertainty.
Solar farm, photo courtesy of SunShare Community Solar
Gliedt T, Berkhout T, Parker P, Doucet J, 2010, “Voluntary environmental decision-making in firms: Green electricity purchases and the role of champions” International Journal of Business Environment, 3(3), 308-328
This study investigates the corporate decision to voluntarily purchase premium-priced Green Electricity (GE) by examining the internal and external factors which influence environmental decision making. In-depth interviews were conducted with eight paired firms in Alberta, Canada. Firms purchasing GE typically employed a top-down decision-making process, while firms characterised by a participative process did not. An internal driver (environmental champion) was more significant than external factors (regulations, stakeholder pressure) at influencing firms to voluntarily adopt GE purchasing, while organisational culture was found to moderate the effect of drivers. Cost is a common inhibitor to green purchase decisions, but customer (oil industry) perceptions and government regulations were also identified in some cases.
Parker P, Gliedt T, 2010, “Integrated energy resource management”, in Resource and Environmental Management in Canada: Addressing Conflict and Uncertainty Ed B Mitchell 4th Edition (Oxford University Press, London) pp 154-185
Solar PV Parking Lot and EV Charging, University of Waterloo