Renewable Energy in Ontario: Future Directions for Community Engagement
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In Ontario, the way community engagement is conducted during the renewable energy development process is inadequate and fuels the culture of opposition in Ontario. Looking at the history of energy policy and its evolution towards its present form, it is clear that efforts to mitigate this opposition have fallen short. It is commonly thought that opposition stems from a lack of knowledge of technology and its benefits, as well as, a misunderstanding of the adverse health effects. This is categorically untrue and both acceptance and opposition are complex positions that are relatively unique on a case-‐by-‐case basis. Social psychology explains that underlying these positions are a number of factors such as normative influences, past experiences and the accessibility of different frames. This literature also highlights trust as the fundamental starting point for effective community engagement. A new approach to community engagement is recommended where a trusting partner relationship is established and used to foster an environment of effective dialogue that results in renewable energy development that is satisfactory to all stakeholders.