Workshop: Social Acceptance of Renewable Energy

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) hosted a workshop on strengthening social acceptance and dispelling lingering misconceptions about renewable energy. The three-day meeting, held at IRENA’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, gathered prominent advocates and experts to identify specific opportunities to improve the social acceptance of renewable energy through IRENA’s work.

Advocates and experts met at IRENA headquarters to tackle common misconceptions about renewable energy

Representatives of about 40 leading organisations advocating the transition to renewable energy – from companies like Masdar, Enel Green Power, Abengoa, Vestas and First Solar to non-governmental organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Greenpeace – discussed synergising their existing efforts to dispel misconceptions and harmonising their arguments and communication strategies.

The workshop highlighted the importance of addressing public concerns about renewable energy and the lessons to be drawn from the experiences of the private sector and civil society. Specific concerns related to social acceptance include costs to consumers, land use priorities, and community and gender perspectives.

Participants, recognising the need for collective efforts to create and disseminate common messages from the renewable energy sector, agreed to form a “coalition for action” to improve public support for renewable energy, building on IRENA’s broad convening power.

Presentations and other documents from the workshop are available here:


List of participants

Introduction to IRENA and workshop objectives
Hugo Lucas, IRENA

Importance of overcoming misconceptions

Persuading the majority – From experiences over the climate change debate
John Cook, University of Queensland

Communication best practices for renewable energy (RE-COMMUNICATE project)
Kristian Petrick, IEA Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (RETD)

Towards a coalition for action to improve social acceptance
Tomoo Machiba, IRENA

Lessons from existing debunking efforts – Private sector experiences

It’s time to Act on Facts
Mirella Amalia Vitale, Vestas Wind Systems

Debunking common myths about solar PV
Ahmed S. Nada, First Solar

Lessons from existing debunking efforts: Association experiences

ACORE’s communication initiatives
Kevin Haley, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)

Lessons from Germany’s efforts for renewable energy communications
Jörg Mühlenhoff, German Renewable Energies Agency

Falling on deaf ears: Challenges to communicating the benefits of bioenergy for Africa
Meghan Sapp, Partners for Euro-African Green Energy (PANGEA)

Lessons from existing debunking efforts: Civil society experiences

Busting the myths: WWF’s work on debunking misconceptions about renewable energy
Tabaré A. Currás, WWF International

Greenpeace’s renewable energy campaigning
Sven Teske, Greenpeace International

Social acceptance of renewable energy in Japan
Mika Ohbayashi, Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF)

Innovative methods to tackle misconceptions

How to work together to improve social acceptance
Charlotte Webster, CC Group

Debunking myths through innovative techniques
Timothy Paul, Climate Reality Project

Social acceptance of renewable energy

Social acceptance of renewable energy
Martin J. Pasqualetti, Arizona State University

Environmental impacts and land use

Study on environmental impact from large-scale deployment of renewable energy technologies
Viktorija Namavira, DNV-KEMA

Migratory species and renewable energy
Ivan Scrase, BirdLife International

Green norms for renewable electricity
Chandra Bhushan, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

Renewable energy and landscapes
Martin J. Pasqualetti, Arizona State University

Socio-economic effects

Acceptance of community power wind farms
Stefan Gsänger, World Wind Energy Association (WWEA)

Cost to consumers
Jörg Mühlenhoff, German Renewable Energies Agency

Job creation and renewables
Roque Pedace, Fundación Bariloche

Renewable energy and education
Ian Baring-Gould, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Gender in energy
Svati Bhogle, International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA)

Communities and engagement

Participation and social acceptance
Stefan Schurig, World Future Council (WFC)

Renewable energy in rural communities
Maxensius Tri Sambodo, Indonesian Institute of Sciences

Social acceptance of renewable energy electrification programmes
Roderick de Castro, TEAM Energy

Social barriers to community projects in renewable energy
Jean Pascal Correa, Environmental Development Action in the Third World (ENDA)

Energy Access Practitioner Network
Aneri Patel, United Nations Foundation

Renewable energy knowledge

Concept of IRENA Knowledge Gateway
Hugo Lucas, IRENA

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