Community financing of renewable energy projects in Austria and Switzerland: Profiles of potential investors
Small-scale investors are gaining recognition as a valuable source of private funding necessary for a successful energy transition. Still, there is limited knowledge about the characteristics of potential investors, especially in community renewable energy projects. This study intends to address this gap and investigates the impact of socio-demographic and socio-psychological characteristics on individuals’ willingness to invest in community renewable energy projects. Our investigation is based on two large-scale representative surveys of 2260 respondents in Austria and Switzerland. The majority of respondents would be willing to invest 1000 to 10,000 CHF/EUR in such a project, with higher amounts in the Swiss sample. Potential investors in Austria tend to be male homeowners with higher incomes, while Swiss investors are more educated. Generally, positive attitudes and beliefs related to renewable energy have a significant impact on investment intention. The largest group of potential investors in both countries can be described as ‘urban wind energy enthusiasts’, who show high acceptance of wind energy installations near their communities. Surprisingly, a significant segment of potential investors is skeptical of a nearby wind installation. Study results can be used by decision-makers to tailor appropriate policy measures and by project developers for communication of the project aims and benefits.
Social acceptance, Community finance, Beliefs, Willingness-to-invest, Wind energy, Cluster analysis
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