Local communities have been identified as crucial actors in the diffusion of renewable energy, considered one of the most important eco-innovations of our time. Anecdotal evidence has indicated that local communities tend to play different roles in promoting eco-innovation, particularly renewable energy. However, what this heterogeneity looks like has not yet been quantitatively examined. Our study addresses this gap by systematically exploring the involvement of communities in the promotion of eco-innovation at the local level. We focus on their participation in renewable energy partnerships with the private sector in rural areas in Israel's southern periphery. Our study indicates that local communities play diverse roles in promoting renewable energy through varying involvement in finance, ownership, knowledge contribution, employment, energy consumption, and, most common according to our findings, the leasing of natural resources. The study further tracks the factors that shape this diverse involvement, including the community's land size, population size, socio-economic ranking, and experience. Finally, the study unpacks the levels of risks and gains that local communities face when promoting renewable energy through their partnerships with the private sector. By confronting theory with quantitative research, this study sheds light on the diverse roles local communities play in the diffusion of eco-innovation, a prerequisite for renewable energy.
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© 2022 The Author(s) (2022). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
- Environmental innovation
- Local community
- Low carbon society
- Private sector
- Renewable energy