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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Past Events

Find out about some of the previous events held by Durham Energy Institute:

Grid Infrastructure and Public Acceptance

24th November 2014, 10:00 to 15:30, Friend’s House (London)

This seminar will discuss the challenges and opportunities involved in gaining public consent for new infrastructure projects, with a particular focus upon high voltage power lines.

Efficient and innovative infrastructure – whether high-speed railway lines, broadband networks or electricity power lines - is a vital contributor to economic growth and social cohesion in developed economies.

Electricity grids, and high voltage transmission lines in particular, ensure that we ‘keep the lights on’ to power homes and industry. Across Europe, as well as in specific countries such as the UK and Norway, significant investments are planned to upgrade existing networks and to construct new ones, for example over £100 billion in the UK alone (DECC, 2011).

These proposals presume that such infrastructures have public consent and will be socially acceptable to the communities living nearby. However, experience shows that such communities often object to infrastructure proposals, and controversies have provoked both local and national debate, as was witnessed with the Hardanger case in Norway.

These controversies lead to delays or abandoned projects, and communities are often blamed for ‘NIMBY’ (Not In My Back Yard) responses driven by ignorance, emotionality or parochialism. They reinforce the necessity to better understand the causes of such conflicts, based upon robust evidence rather than anecdote.

The SusGrid research project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council, involving academics drawn from several social science disciplines in both Norway and the UK.


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