Start date: 01/07/2018

Date of completion: 30/06/2022

PEARLS – Planning and Engagement Arenas for Renewable Energy Landscapes

As an active key actor in the spatial planning and social innovation arena for Renewable Energy Landscapes REL, the PEARLS project will reinforce the population’s commitment to secure, clean and efficient energy. REL are regarded as spaces where renewable energies change the population’s relationship with energy and their landscape perception. Despite all efforts, resistance to REL lingers in Europe, while the reasons for strong social acceptance in Mediterranean and South American countries are still unknown. Thus PEARLS will focus on Southern European countries and Israel due to their wealth of renewable energy resources and citizens’ deep engagement with REL.

PEARLS main goal is to develop applied knowledge through questions about how to increase public engagement in the behalf of sustainable renewable energy system through planning processes. Its results will transform policy initiatives and strategic interventions with the population, in places where energy resources are relevant and local communities are disadvantaged from the opportunities that networking offers. Using secondment, staff exchange and collaborative research, the project will investigate on national legal basis; will develop methodologies on social innovation; and will explore tools from the multidisciplinary approach of Social Sciences in different European regions. Budget conditions will reinforce research and innovation staff exchange from the academic and non-academic sector, sharing resources from the implementation of the project within all the participants.

PEARLS is radically transforming scientific knowledge on how to best implement REL across Europe and extend southern landscapes towards other Mediterranean countries through participant networks. PEARLS will generate a step change in the way that REL are theorised, detected and addressed and provide crucial support for the Pan-European Energy Challenge by establishing international, intersectoral and multidisciplinary collaboration as the nexus of a five-country holistic pool of universities and research centres in close cooperation with non-academic sectors.

All members of the partnership, five universities (Seville, Lisbon, Trento, Thessaloniki and Haifa) and nine non-academic beneficiaries (companies, private consultants, government agencies, cooperatives and business associations) have proven expertise and experience working with renewable energy , energy policy, PER, spatial planning and social innovation, through the internationalization of applied research and training for capacity building. Via secondments, staff exchanges and collaborative inquiry, the project will investigate how to apply the best renewable energy practices to contribute to the Energy Challenge. Among the expected products are work reports, websites, toolkits, training materials and methodology, guidelines on environmental impact assessment, internationalization of legal frameworks, sites / resource bases, best practices for reflective public participation and inclusive seminars, working papers scientific articles, in scientific journals and books. In addition to the development of research capacity, PEARLS will consolidate existing links and create new connections for future research applications for the European Union and beyond for renewable energy landscapes.

Ana Delicado (coord.), Ana Horta, Mónica Truninger, Luís Junqueira.