Shifting practices: How the rise of rooftop solar PV has changed local government community engagement

Meiklejohn, D, Bekessy, S and Moloney, S 2018, 'Shifting practices: How the rise of rooftop solar PV has changed local government community engagement', Cogent Environmental Science, vol. 4, no. 1, 1481584, pp. 1-14.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Shifting practices: How the rise of rooftop solar PV has changed local government community engagement
Author(s) Meiklejohn, D
Bekessy, S
Moloney, S
Year 2018
Journal name Cogent Environmental Science
Volume number 4
Issue number 1
Article Number 1481584
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher Cogent OA
Abstract Australian local governments develop and deliver a range of community engagement programmes designed to reduce household-based greenhouse gas emissions. This article draws on practice theory to analyse how these programmes have changed over time in response to the rapid deployment of a domestic renewable energy technology: rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV). After outlining the practice "lens" used to analyse these practices, we draw on empirical research to examine traditional forms of climate change community engagement practice including meanings of leadership adopted by local governments. We note how these play out in the form of ambitious community-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that favour technological responses to climate change which in turn has favoured the rise of rooftop solar PV, and how community engagement practices have changed as a result. We find that Australian local government climate change community engagement practices have experienced three distinct forms of performance. The first, what might be termed "traditional" climate change community engagement practices, rely upon individuals acting out of adherence to pro-social environmental values. The second highlights the technology of rooftop solar PV with its associated pro-individual motivations, such as financial benefit. The third form, which is currently emerging, positions local governments as "disruptors" of centralised energy systems mobilising rooftop solar PV amongst actors currently excluded from the solar revolution, such as renters, low income households and community energy groups. In extending the meanings of rooftop solar PV uptake beyond financial benefits to a shared response to climate change, local governments become active agents in mobilising community energy transitions.
Subject Land Use and Environmental Planning
Urban and Regional Planning not elsewhere classified
Urban Policy
Keyword(s) Local government
Community engagement
Social practice theory
Rooftop solar photovoltaic
Energy transition
DOI - identifier 10.1080/23311843.2018.1481584
Copyright notice © 2018 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons
ISSN 2331-1843
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