Community Characteristics and Their Influence on Community Renewable Energy Projects: A Case Study of Cang Dong Village, Hainan, China

by Greenhouse, Benjamin

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis examines the characteristics of a community that positively influence the success of a community renewable energy project. As the first stage of a two-stage inductive research process, a review of relevant bodies of literature results in the development of 5 characteristics of a community that?based on the literature?have the potential to positively affect the success of a community renewable energy project. Those characteristics are: a large stock of social capital and a strong sense of community; effective leadership from local government and local organizations; past experience with cooperation and innovation, and access to technical resources; economic perceptions and realities; and biophysical resources appropriate to the technologies being used.

Following an examination of how these characteristics might manifest themselves in a Chinese context, the five characteristics were used as a heuristic to guide the second stage of the research process: a case study of a community biogas project in Cang Dong Village in China's Hainan province. This case study suggests that the success of Cang Dong's biogas project was directly influenced by four main factors: effective leadership from local government, access to technical resources, economic perceptions and realities, and biophysical resources appropriate to the technologies being used. The impact of the community's past experience with innovation & cooperation and their strong stock of social capital were more ambiguous; although the community had past experience with cooperative and innovative projects, along with a high stock of social capital, a direct link between these characteristics and the success of the biogas project could not be conclusively determined.

As a result of the case study, this thesis concludes with an outline of a general framework that could be used to evaluate the suitability of a community for a community renewable energy project. This outline is presented acknowledging the exploratory nature of this research and follows the need for more research on this topic.

Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Waterloo

School Location:Canada - Ontario

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:environmental studies energy hainan china community development biogas


Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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