Social Acceptance

Building Trust and Fairness Into the System

Addressing the root causes of climate change requires a fair and thoughtful approach to community engagement

featured project/RESEARCH

What Citizens Want and Need to Accept Electricity System Change

In May 2022, the Conservation Council released Factors Accepting Social Acceptance of Renewable Energy and Transmission Projects, a study which asked Canadians to define the reasons they would support or oppose new renewable energy projects in their community.

Our team observed that, while research consistently shows Canadians strongly support renewable energy to generate non-polluting electricity, this support doesn’t always hold up when it comes time to break ground on new projects in their own community.

We wanted to know why, and took the question directly to Canadians. This research was developed using national focus groups in spring 2022. A number of energy-related topics were discussed, ranging from factors that would encourage and discourage residents allowing renewable energy projects  in their community, to benefits expected from such a project, to a review of several arguments designed to encourage the development of renewable energy and transmission lines. 

Our research shows that, overwhelmingly, fairness is the biggest factor influencing the success of a project. People will accept renewable energy projects in their community if they feel the project—from conception to construction to generation—is done fairly, with particular focus on fairness in sharing the costs and benefits of the project with the local community, and feeling they had fair access to and influence over decisions about the project.

Read the full report here (English only)

Read the executive summary here: English | French.

Watch our webinar with Dr. Louise Comeau explaining the results of the study here.

Social Acceptance Surveys/Narratives

The factors affecting social acceptance of renewable energy and transmission projects (May 2022)

Green Resilience Project Community Summary Report (Feb 2022)

Available in English. 12 pages. This report summarizes the discussion and recommendations from the Conservation Council’s Green Resilience Community Conversation, a project which invited citizens to explore the connections between and solutions to climate change and income insecurity.

Survey Results: Public Understanding of Atlantic Electricity Issues (July 2021)

Available in English. 43 pages.  This PowerPoint deck summarizes the findings of our Atlantic Canada-wide survey on the public’s understanding of electricity issues in our region, conducted in July 2021. You can read the survey questionnaire here: English | French

Conservation Council’s Letter to Minister Holland on Electricity Act Reform to achieve 80 per cent renewables by 2030 

Available in English and French. Two pages.  Our letter to Mike Holland, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development, outlining the steps New Brunswick needs to take to build a modern electricity system that is affordable, environmentally sustainable, and reliable.


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