Energy justice issues in renewable energy megaprojects: Implications for a socioeconomic evaluation of megaprojects

Shankar Sankaran, Stewart Clegg, Ralf Müller, Nathalie Drouin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to investigate and discuss stakeholder issues faced by renewable energy megaprojects and in particular solar and wind power projects and their relevance to socioeconomic evaluation of megaprojects.

Design/methodology/approach
The paper uses secondary data collected from the recent literature published on stakeholder issues face by mega solar and wind power energy generation projects around the world. The issues are then analysed across specific challenges in five continents where these projects are being developed. The paper then focuses on the literature on energy justice to elaborate the type of issues being faced by renewable energy megaprojects contributing to the achievement of UN Sustainable Goal 7 and their impact on vulnerable communities where these projects are situated.

Findings
Renewable energy megaprojects are rarely discussed in the project management literature on megaprojects despite their size and importance in delivering sustainable development goals. While these projects provide social benefits they also create issues of justice due to their impact of vulnerable populations living is locations where these projects are situated. The justice issues faced include procedural justice, distributive justice, recognition inequalities. The type of justice issues was found to vary intensity in the developed, emerging and developing economies. It was found that nonprofit organisations are embarking on strategies to alleviate energy justice issues in innovative ways. It was also found that, in some instances, smaller local projects developed with community participation could actually contribute more equitable to the UN sustainable development goals avoiding the justice issues posed by mega renewable energy projects.
Research limitations/implications
The research uses secondary data due to which it is difficult to present a more comprehensive picture of stakeholder issues involving renewable energy megaprojects. The justice issues revealed through thesis paper with renewable energy megaprojects are also present in conventional megaprojects which have not been discussed in the project management literature. Post-COVID-19 these justice issues are likely to become mor prevalent due to the pandemic's impact on vulnerable population exacerbating the issues and increasing their severity on these populations. Therefore it is becoming even more critical to take these into account while developing renewable energy megaprojects.

Practical implications
Proper identification and response to energy justice issues can help in alleviating stakeholder issues in renewable energy megaprojects.

Social implications
Contributes to the equitable achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7.

Originality/value
This paper addresses a gap in the project management literature on the exploration of stakeholder issues on renewable energy megaprojects. It also brings out the importance of justice issues which can assist in expanding stakeholders issues faced by megaprojects as these issues have not received sufficient attention in the past in the project management literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-718
JournalInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2022

Keywords

  • Sustainable development
  • Stakeholder
  • Renewable energy
  • Megaprojects

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