Robert Wade, PhD Student at School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast describes in this blogpost how critital the distributions of property rights in renewable energy production lands are.

The relatively extensive spatial requirements of renewable energy technologies means that landowners whose land is suitable for production of these energy sources oftentimes stand to gain much economically from the low carbon transition, whether through direct production themselves or through the collection of lease/rent payments for use of their land.

This situates the landowner and the rent relation at the centre of the low-carbon transition, yet surprisingly little has been said about this role.  Underpinning this role are distributions of property rights. Therefore, we can ask how property rights relate to the wind and how should these ‘wind rights’ be distributed?  To answer these questions I employ a comparative analysis of two European countries, Ireland and Germany, to examine the role of rent relations within the onshore wind industry under different conditions.

By conceptualising land use planning for wind energy through a property rights lens, this research aims to provide impact for different stakeholders including policymakers/politicians (e.g. to replace lost fossil fuel royalties) and communities/activists (e.g. to stake claims for decision-making and economic participation in transition).

Robert is member of MISTRAL European Training Network on Renewable Energy and Social Acceptance aiming to understand how different systems of property rights can contribute to fair but rapid decarbonisation. Besides, Robert’s other research interests include philosophy of science (critical realism) and distributed generation/P2P energy systems.