Community Engagement and Equity in Renewable Energy Projects: A Literature Review

Paty Romero-Lankao, Nicole Rosner, Rebecca Efroymson, Esther Parisch, Lis Blanco, Sharon Smolinski, Keith Kline

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Projects to transition away from fossil fuels toward renewables can prompt opposition even if their proponents engage with the public and affected communities. Therefore, many scholars and practitioners call for a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities of participation and engagement in decision-making processes. This literature review examines: (a) the nature of and links between engagement and equity in energy transition projects, and (b) the lessons learned, best practices and options in this emerging field. The goal of this report is to inform the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and proponents of renewable energy projects, such as the siting of bioenergy infrastructure, with knowledge on what engagement is, why and how it works on the ground, and how it relates to crucial societal elements of energy equity such as social acceptance, energy democracy, and equity outcomes.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages37
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5400-87113


  • bioenergy
  • community engagement
  • energy equity
  • energy justice
  • energy projects
  • just transitions
  • public participation
  • renewable energy


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