Is there an appropriate model of community wind turbine ownership for New Zealand? : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Social Policy at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Historically, public ownership of telecommunications, railways, ports, and energy, amongst other infrastructure, has been important in New Zealand. In the electricity sector local authorities generated and supplied electricity from the early 1900s. Thus in a sense electricity generation was in the hands of community owned and operated trading enterprises. However, the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s brought significant restructuring of this infrastructure based on the market model of privatisation. Since 1992 energy companies have been required to operate as successful businesses despite being ultimately owned by community trusts which, in effect, hold the assets of the energy company in trust for the community. However, it is arguable as to whether this model actually pursues social and community objectives.
Community ownership of wind turbines is common in some European countries, but there are currently no examples of this form of ownership in New Zealand. This thesis defines community ownership and by examining case studies in Scotland, Denmark and Australia, proposes a model of community ownership appropriate to wind turbine ownership in New Zealand. Specifically, this thesis seeks to identify community ownership models that are capable of promoting holistic environmental justice by reconciling social justice with ecological justice.
A number of forms of community ownership are identified in the various case study countries and a comparative analysis is carried out of these exemplars. On the basis of these studies it is found to be possible for a form of community ownership of wind turbines to exist in New Zealand that incorporates both social justice and ecological justice principles as holistic environmental justice.