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Community-Owned Renewable Technology Enterprises and Economic Development

Investigators

Dr George Callaghan, The Open University

Funding

An IKD-funded research project, 2011-12

Background

Over the past decade or so a number of communities in Scotland, mainly in the Highlands and Islands, have succeeded in overturning centuries of (often absentee) landlordism by taking ownership of their land. Both from a symbolic and practical policy perspective this represents a real shift towards social justice in these economically deprived communities.

Initial case study work into enterprise developments in these Scottish communities pointed towards an emphasis on utilizing technologies associated with sustainable development. Specifically community owned and managed companies are using wind, Hydro and biomass technology to develop resource streams.

Further case study fieldwork gathered information on the type and innovative nature of community owned renewable technology; the business models which are being used in these community owned energy firms and associated economic development.

Events

Co-organised and co-chaired Regional Studies Association workshop on the Isle of Gigha on renewable energy. 20-21 March 2012.

Callaghan, G., Whittam, G. and Mike Danson (2012) 'Renewable energy, asset-based management and communities: the roles of ownership and management in determining outputs and outcomes' Regional Studies Association workshop on community ownership, 20-21 March 2012, Isle of Gigha.

Callaghan, G. (2012) Part of an academic team participating in the workshop 'economic development potential of community land ownership' Highlands and Islands Enterprise. February 2012

Publications

Callaghan, G., Danson, M. and Whittam, G. (2011) 'Community ownership and sustainable economic development.' Scottish Affairs, 74. Pp. 79-100.

Callaghan, G.; Danson, M. and Whittam, G. (2012) 'Economic and enterprise development in community buyouts.' In Danson, M. and de Souza, P. (Eds). Regional development in Northern Europe: personality, marginality and border issues. Routledge, pp. 196-211.

Callaghan, G. and Whittam, G. (2012) (Eds) 'Community ownership of alternative energy resources,' Regions No. 287, Autumn 2012, The Quarterly magazine of the Regional Studies Association.

Callaghan, G., Whittam, G. and Mike Danson (2012) 'Renewable energy, asset-based management and communities: the roles of ownership and management in determining outputs and outcomes' Regions No. 287, Autumn 2012, The Quarterly magazine of the Regional Studies Association.

Callaghan, G. and Williams, D. (forthcoming) 'The economic and social impact of community owned renewable energy projects' submitted to the IKD working paper series and an academic journal.

Policy impact

The research has led to me being called as an academic adviser to the Financial Innovation Unit of the Scottish Government on the economic development opportunities associated with the Warms Homes Fund. This is a fund to be delivered over the course of the current Scottish Parliament to support energy efficiency, renewable energy and other measures for the fuel poor. (May 2012)