SPG Interview: Jessica Hogan

Tell us about yourself?

I am a PhD student at the University of St Andrews studying community onshore wind energy in rural Scotland and Newfoundland, Canada. I am investigating how the level of benefits, ownership, and participation in the decision-making process, may influence how residents living near these wind developments feel about them. I am looking at six different onshore wind projects, three in Scotland and three in Newfoundland, and am using public surveys.

Tell us about your research/work and how that might intersect with policy?

My research in Scotland is very much linked to the Scottish Government’s energy policy, particularly the documents for ‘the Good Practice Principles for Renewable Energy Developments’. I am comparing the different types of community benefit or ownership schemes described in those documents so that we can better understand what local actors living with those schemes feel about it. I hope that through this comparison, I will be able to provide policy suggestions for why community buy-in and involvement in the decision-making process is important, especially if we are aiming for a ‘just’ transition.

What is the most interesting place you have travelled to for work?

One of the things I have loved about doing research is that I have had the opportunity to travel and meet interesting people in different parts of the world. I have had to opportunity to live, study, and work in both Canada and Scotland. I have had the pleasure to study a variety of topics including the impacts of off-road vehicles on coastal dune ecology and the opinions of those off-road vehicle users in Canada, explore geese management issues in Orkney, and now investigate onshore wind energy in Scotland and Newfoundland. For MSc, my fieldwork was in a rural area of New Brunswick where I got to spend several months on a beautiful island and a National Park. I then got to present that work in Namibia and Germany at conferences. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I haven’t got to travel for my current research. However, maybe sometime soon!

What do you get out of being on the SPG Committee?

I have been on the committee for almost three years and am currently the early-career representative. I originally joined the committee when I first moved over to Scotland from Canada because I desperately needed to network! Over the years, I really have benefited from the committee as I felt instantly like I was a part of a community – one that spread across to many different places and institutions. Also, the people are lovely!

If you had to pick a favorite project you have worked with SPG, what would it be?

I loved participating and helping plan the policy training events! I find it is a great place to network with many early career members, learn about ways in which we can get involved in Scottish policy, and access some great tips and tricks. While the previous one was held online, many of the participants said it was one of my best and most interactive sessions they ever did online. I look forward to many more!