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Wind Energy Feasibility in Russia Proposal

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Introduction

This research proposal tries to investigate the feasibility of wind energy from a strategic management perspective in Russia. The socio-economic aspects of this shall also be examined by taking into account several case studies in Russia (as an example see: POWER 2008; BASREC 2012). The current study aims to understand how each of these socio-economic assessments is managed and implemented using several different strategies. A documentation review shall be undertaken of both academic literature and case studies to further gain an understanding of the issue. After the review has been undertaken and techniques identified, SWOT analysis and other analyses of each of these methods shall be completed. Afterwards, several recommendations will be made in an attempt to demonstrate the best techniques for use in the feasibility study.

Introduction To The Study

This study shall be undertaken by critically evaluating how the assessments are currently implemented into practice. Their effectiveness shall then be assessed by comparing them to practices adopted by other countries (see as an example: Bell, Gray & Haggett 2005; Bergmann, Hanley & Wright 2006; van der Horst & Toke 2010). This could help in the identification of some opportunities that could be utilised in Russia to help improve the undertaking of the feasibility studies. Russia has emerged as one of the countries with promising establishments of wind power as reported by the Russian Association of Wind Power Industry (RAVI 2013). Therefore, it is vital to carry out a social-economic environmental impact assessment to gain a planning consent necessary for wind farm development.

Problem Statement

In Russia, feasibility studies have been conducted to establish the viability of wind turbine projects (as an example see: POWER 2008; BASREC 2012). For instance, an economic feasibility study has been carried out to determine the local meteorological potential necessary for wind power/energy production (Pedden 2005). To date, a variety of practices have been adopted to undertake and implement this (Devine‐Wright 2005; van der Horst 2007). This research seeks to ascertain if these practices could be improved by establishing how the assessments have been undertaken in other countries such as the UK, Denmark, the United States, and Australia, among others.

Research Aims And Objectives

In conjunction with the problem statement above, the following aims have been formulated:

  • To use the available and relevant data to investigate how socio-economic assessments are managed by using various management strategies (during the feasibility investigation phase of wind farm developments).
  • To use available and relevant data, to investigate how socio-economic assessments are implemented by using various management strategies (during the feasibility investigation phase of wind farm developments).
  • To use the findings from the above two aims and make recommendations for how practices may be improved in Russia.

Additionally, the following objectives have been developed:

  1. To evaluate how socio-economic assessments are strategically managed and implemented (during the feasibility phases of wind farm projects in Russia and other countries).
  2. To evaluate if these assessments can be improved in Russia.

Proposal Structure

The proposed outline is described as follows. Chapter One will provide an introduction to wind farms in Russia and also introduce the current topic. The aim and objectives of the research will also be provided. Chapter two, which is the literature review, shall entail a review of different sources and synthesise and evaluate the literature generated according to the guiding concept of the thesis that follows. Chapter four will discuss the research methodology detailing how data will be collected and analysed. Chapter five concludes with a discussion on each of the research questions and the available evidence to support the research objectives, implications for practice, limitations of the research and directions for future research.

Literature Review

To date, studies have been undertaken to assess the development of wind farms (see as an example: Bell, Gray & Haggett 2005; Bergmann, Hanley & Wright 2006; van der Horst & Toke 2010). Majority of these have focused on developments in Europe or the United States of America. There are cases concentrating on countries in South Asia (Yue, Liu & Liou 2001). There are a few case studies which are pertinent to these types of projects in Russia (as an example see: Martinot 1999; POWER 2008; BASREC 2012). Mainly, these case studies show that a variety of techniques are used to ascertain if these developments are feasible. To ensure that this is the case, several assessments are undertaken (see as an example: Bell, Gray & Haggett 2005). This helps to ensure that each aspect of the development and its impacts are fully considered. One important assessment seeks to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of wind farm developments (Greene & Geisken, 2013; UNEP, 2004). It is the management and implementation of these in Russia, which this study seeks to explore.

A social, economic assessment of wind power was undertaken in Denmark to determine the lessons learned. The study, carried out by Munksgaard and Larsen (1998), used cost-effectiveness paradigms to determine the social and economic benefits gained. The social, economic examination assessed the production cost from 3 parameters: (1) internal production cost of electricity, (2) the external production costs, and (3), the macroeconomic effects on the balance of payments on employment. The findings showed that when internal costs are factored in, the cost of producing wind power is higher compared to the production of electricity from a central plant (Munksgaard & Larsen 1998). Therefore, the current research could assess the feasibility of wind energy by considering the cost-effectiveness paradigms where external costs and microeconomic effects on such issues as employment, the balance of payments, and fiscal policy comparison are assessed. The use of economic feasibility is reflected in a study carried out on behalf of the Russian Federation on perspectives of offshore wind energy development (Eksponente 2008). In this study, different variables such as costs and physical, technical, economic, environmental parameters are considered.

Leningrad Oblast, Russia has numerous resources which could be tapped to produce wind power. Nonetheless, the area has the least wind farms/projects, as indicated by a report produced by USTDA (2003). The report shows that a feasibility study was carried at six potential wind power sites in Leningrad Oblast. However, only three met the feasibility study criteria based on wind characteristic, environmental considerations, land availability, local governmental support, presence of potential customers, presence of strong, and growing power demand in the region (USTDA 2003). BASREC (2012) carried a feasibility study which was geared towards determining the conditions necessary for the deployment of wind power energy in the Baltic Sea Region. The main agenda of the feasibility was to evaluate the existing regulatory framework for wind energy applied while deploying wind power projects in the region. The findings showed that there are variations when it comes to the development of wind power with countries such as Russia being labelled as “sleeping giant” while Denmark is regarded as a “spiritual home” as noted by BASREC (2012, p. 99).

A report by SEAI (2010) provides a wide range of socio-economic factors which are put into consideration when commissioning the development of wind power. It is noted that these factors should be considered while carrying out an environmental impact assessment (EIA). The factors are presented in the table below, as provided by SEAI (2010).

Table 1: Socio-Economic Factors

Direct economic
  • Local and non-local employment
  • Characteristics of employment
  • Labour supply and training
  • Wage levels
Indirect/wider economic
  • Local and non-local supply chain effects
  • Employees’ local expenditure (induced effects)
  • Impacts on other commercial activities (e.g. tourism, fishing, agriculture)
Demographic
  • Changes in population size (temporary and permanent)
  • Changes in population characteristics (e.g. socio-economic groups, income levels, age groups, sex)
  • Settlement patterns
Housing
  • House prices
  • Housing availability
Socio-cultural
  • Lifestyles/quality of life
  • Social problems (e.g. crime, illness, etc.)
  • Community stress
Other local services
  • Educational services
  • Health services, social support
  • Transport services and infrastructure
  • Other (e.g. police, fire, recreation)

In a separate feasibility study, EWEA (2010) notes that factors which have an effect on public perception with regard to the development of wind power should be put into consideration. These factors have been divided into three dimensions which are: (1) physical, technical, and environmental attributes; (2) psycho-social, and (3) social and institutional factors. For example, a study carried out by Flowers and Kelly (2005) showed that the development of wind power affects the environment, such as a high bird mortality level.

Furthermore, community acceptance studies have shown that people are concerned about the hazards associated with high turbine blades (Jobert, Laborgne & Mimler 2007; Kart, 2009; Tyler 2010). Bergmann, Hanley and Wright (2006) carried out a study on the development of wind power in Scotland and established that the attributes of renewable energy investment had been valued before a project was started. This has been supported by Wolsink (2007), who notes that values have to be considered to ensure local involvement in wind power projects. Bell, Gray and Haggett (2005) touch upon the ‘not in my backyard’ (NIMBY) syndrome, which has ensured that wind power is not implemented in some regions of the UK. Torres Sibille et al. (2009) focus on the objective aesthetic impact of this type of sustainable energy.

The following study shall achieve the above by examining the literature from Europe or the United States of America (see as an example: Gray 2012; Bergmann, Hanley & Wright 2006). The literature will be compared to the Russian case studies (as an example see: POWER 2008; BASREC 2012). This will enable the researcher to understand the implementation of similar projects in several countries and how practices may be improved in Russia.

Literature Review Summary

The findings from this review shall be detailed in summary, and the research questions shall be outlined.

Research Questions

The following provisional research questions have been developed:

  1. How have socio-economic assessments been strategically managed (during the feasibility studies of wind farms in different countries)?
  2. How have the socio-economic assessments been implemented (during the feasibility phases of wind farm developments in Russia and other countries)?
  3. To date, what lessons have been learnt from one and two, and how may these be applied in Russia?

Methodology

Due to the nature of this study, the research shall be based on an extensive review of the literature and case studies. Once all of these have been examined and collated, several recommendations shall be made. Data will be collected from existing research materials and eventually synthesised and evaluated according to the research questions, or the guiding concept of the thesis.

Research Philosophy

The use of qualitative or quantitative research method as part of a research process is dependent on certain assumptions concerned with nature of reality and knowledge, processes of acquiring desired knowledge, and how one can understand the knowledge. One of the research philosophy commonly used is epistemology. This philosophy is concerned with the generation of knowledge (Bryman & Bell 2003). The research philosophy, which has been adopted for this study, is positivism. Positivism enables a researcher to generate knowledge on a reality which is undertaken through the scientific method (Bryman & Bell 2003). This will allow the investigation to be critical and objective (Saunders, 2003).

Moreover, the principle of inductivism will be used as it is based on the premise that gathering of facts generates knowledge necessary in understanding a certain phenomenon. Concerning the research study, a positivist view of epistemology will be adopted to assess the feasibility of wind energy from the strategic management perspective. The information generated shall be useful in understanding the topic more feasibly.

Research Approach

The research approach chosen for this study is qualitative as it will be based on a literature review (Saunders 2003). This will allow the researcher to explore the problem outlined above and check if any improvements can be made. The choice of a qualitative research approach is because it is more concerned with exploring issues, phenomena understanding, and answering research questions. Moreover, a qualitative research approach is used to understand a particular phenomenon to discover the innermost meaning (Creswell 2003). In this case, the hope is to understand the development of wind farms in Russia from a strategic management perspective.

Research Strategy

The research strategy chosen for this study is a literature review. This will entail an extensive literature search. Therefore, the literature search will be conducted to identify scholarly publications related to the feasibility of wind energy from a strategic management perspective. Notably, the researcher hopes to collect data via websites like Google, journals, case studies, and relevant books. After that, the researcher will synthesise and evaluate it by the guiding concept of the thesis. The literature review process is presented in the figure below.

Literature Review Process
Figure 1: Literature Review Process

Data Collection

The proposed research study is secondary research. As such, data collection shall be accomplished by searching websites like Google to locate electronic journals, case studies and relevant books (Cronin, Ryan & Coughlan 2008). Once several relevant sources have been identified, these shall be used to collect information to investigate the research problem. Already existing information related to wind farms in Russia and other parts will be used. The relevant case studies will then be supported by information generated from electronic journals, textbooks, and other sources.

Owing to the nature of the research study, secondary sources have been deemed viable because they are easy to access; can be acquired at a low cost, the results are already interpreted, and they assist in answering the identified research questions (Creswell 2003). They are less costly in the sense that no fieldwork is required which makes secondary data collection less tiresome and less cumbersome.

Data Analysis

All analyses shall be based on the literature identified during the data collection phase of this study. Since no quantification or generalisability is required, the data collected will be analysed qualitatively. This means that the acquired data and information will be assessed to investigate how socio-economic assessments are implemented by using various management strategies.

Access

Access to this literature shall be established through searching library resources, electronic journals and websites. An attempt shall be made to identify, evaluate, and synthesise sites relevant to the topic under study. An extensive search will be carried out where systematic criteria will be used to select the most relevant sources. For example, selection aspects such as date of and the relevance to the study topic will be ability and validity.

Reliability, Validity, And Generalisability

On the one hand, reliability is used to mean that the forthcoming results could be duplicated in future research. On the other hand, the validity of a research study is used to imply the degree to which the research study responds to the identified study question in an appropriate and precise manner. Also, Golafshani (2003, p.599) highlights that validity is applied to determine “whether the research truly measures that which it was intended to measure or how truthful the research results are”. Based on these definitions, the reliability and validity of this research shall be ensured by only using sources of information, which are deemed to be suitable for this study. The generalizability of the findings from this study shall be limited as it will be based on secondary sources, and the study findings will only be valid. In contrast, these sources of information remain current (Saunders 2003).

Ethical Issues

There are no ethical issues that need to be considered, while this research is being conducted. This implies that no consent is required, especially where research output has been disseminated in the public domain. However, it is imperative to note that data protection will be observed and all literary works from the secondary materials used will be acknowledged. This will ensure that the issue of plagiarism is avoided. As such, originality, validity, and reliability of the research will be ensured.

Research Limitations

As this research is based on secondary sources, the available data may limit the findings from this and, as already stated that the study is based on the current situation in Russia, its findings may only be valid for a limited time. Another limitation associated with the use of secondary sources is the likelihood of the sources not meeting the researcher’s specific needs as in most cases, the information and data from secondary sources are not presented in a way which meets the researcher’s needs. In this case, the researcher is required to classify the data, which may be a cumbersome process. Lastly, compared to primary sources, secondary sources are not self-governed and controlled by the researcher. This compels the researcher to closely scrutinise the data source and its content. To address this limitation, the researcher will undertake sufficient steps to evaluate the validity and reliability of the provided information critically.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this study shall be undertaken by seeking to identify and critically evaluate several secondary sources. This will allow for the determination and critical evaluation of the strategic management and implementation of socio-economic analysis. The effectiveness of these in Russia shall then be assessed by comparing them to practices adopted by other countries. After that, several recommendations can be made where this is appropriate. The qualitative research will use data and information collected from secondary sources such as textbooks, journals, and websites. Although no specific ethical considerations are required in secondary research, the researcher will avoid plagiarism by acknowledging the work of others.

Time Chart

The table below is a Gantt chart which schedules all the tasks which will be carried in the actual dissertation. The tasks will be undertaken under the leadership of the researcher.

Tasks Task Lead Start End Duration (Days)
Dissertation Researcher 7/06/13 7/15/13 10
Write Up Results 7/06/13 7/20/13 15
Write up analysis 7/21/13 8/01/13 12
Write Recommendations 1/08/13 13/08/2013 10
Draw Conclusions 13/08/2013 18/08/2013 5

Reference List

BASREC 2012, Conditions for deployment of wind power in the Baltic Sea region: analysis part I Enabling studies. Web.

Bell, D, Gray, T & Haggett, C 2005, ‘The ‘social gap’ in wind farm siting decisions: explanations and policy responses’, Environmental Politics, vol. 14. no. 4, pp. 460-477.

Bergmann, A, Hanley, N, & Wright, R 2006, ‘Valuing the attributes of renewable energy investments’, Energy Policy, vol. 34. no. 9, pp. 1004-1014.

Bryman, A & Bell, E 2003, Business research method, Oxford University Press, New York.

Creswell, JW 2003, Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches, SAGE, London.

Cronin, P, Ryan, F & Coughlan, M 2008, ‘Undertaking a literature review: a step-by-step approach’, British Journal of Nursing, vol. 17. no. 1, pp. 38-43.

Devine‐Wright, P 2005, ‘Beyond NIMBYism: towards an integrated framework for understanding public perceptions of wind energy’, Wind Energy, vol. 8 no. 2, pp. 125-139.

Eksponente 2008, . Web.

EWEA 2010, Community acceptance of wind energy. Web.

Flowers, L & Kelly, M 2005, Wind energy for rural economic development. Web.

Golafshani, N 2003, ‘Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research’, The Qualitative Report, vol. 8 no. 4, pp. 597-607.

Gray, T 2012, Fact check: refuting Gramm’s wind power myths. Web.

Greene, JS & Geisken, M 2013, ‘Socioeconomic impacts of wind farm development: A case study of Weatherford, Oklahoma’, Energy, Sustainability and Society, vol. 3 no. 2, pp. 1-9.

Jobert, A, Laborgne, P & Mimler, S 2007, ‘Local acceptance of wind energy: factors of success identified in French and German case studies’, Energy Policy, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 2751–2760.

Kart, J 2009, , The Bay City Times. Web.

Martinot, E 1999, ‘Renewable energy in Russia: markets, development and technology transfer’, Renewable and sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 49–75.

Munksgaard, J & Larsen, A 1998, ‘Socio economic assessment of wind power – lessons from Denmark’, Energy Policy, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 85–93.

Pedden, M 2005, Analysis: economic impacts of wind applications in rural communities. Web.

POWER 2008, . Web.

RAVI 2013, A new page in the history of Russian wind energy. Web.

Saunders, M 2003, Research methods for business students, Pearson Education, South Africa.

SEAI 2010, . Web.

Torres Sibille, AC, Cloquell-Ballester, VA, Cloquell-Ballester, VA & Darton, R 2009, ‘Development and validation of a multicriteria indicator for the assessment of objective aesthetic impact of wind farms’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 40–66.

Tyler, D 2010, ‘As electric co-op conducts sound experiment, Vinalhaven residents debate solution to turbine noise issue’, The Working Waterfront. Web.

UNEP 2004, . Web.

USTDA 2003, . Web.

van der Horst, D 2007, ‘NIMBY or not? Exploring the relevance of location and the politics of voiced opinions in renewable energy siting controversies’, Energy Policy, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 2705-2714.

van der Horst, D & Toke, D 2010, ‘Exploring the landscape of wind farm developments: local area characteristics and planning process outcomes in rural England’, Land Use Policy, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 214-221.

Wolsink, M 2007, ‘Planning of renewables schemes: deliberative and fair decision-making on landscape issues instead of reproachful accusations of non-cooperation’, Energy Policy, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 2692-2704.

Yue, CD, Liu, CM & Liou, EML 2001, ‘A transition toward a sustainable energy future: feasibility assessment and development strategies of wind power in Taiwan’, Energy Policy, vol. 29, no. 12, pp. 951-963.

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