Social Impacts of Local Energy Developments (SLED): A case study of Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay

This research is using the proposed Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (TLSB) renewable energy development as a case study to explore the role of communities in energy developments, and the social and economic impact of local energy infrastructure.  We are using the idea of resilience as a way to conceptually frame the impact of large-scale infrastructure developments on localities, and to explore the role of local communities, both in terms of consultation and community benefit. 

A key aim is to explore the potential role of the private sector in contributing to, or undermining, local forms of resilience, and to develop insights into good practice for community involvement and community benefit.  We have also critically engaged with policy and practice in the field of community resilience, and worked to develop a model of resilience which enables engagement with the ways in which local resilience is shaped by different actors operating at different levels of analysis.

The first stage of the research involved engaging with local perceptions and understandings of the proposed development, and more broadly with the socioeconomic and historical context of the local area.  The research team interviewed local stakeholders and local residents, and carried out ethnographic research at consultation events and other relevant local activities. 

The aims of stage two are to develop further the findings from the first stage, maintaining a focus on community involvement, including consultation; investment opportunities; and community benefit.  Influencing and informing policy and practice at strategic levels is a key aim of stage two and we will work towards developing a framework for assessing the social impact of energy developments, and for understanding the relationships between private energy developers and local communities.  We expect to continue to use resilience as a way of framing/representing these issues.