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Status quo of social acceptance strategies and practices in the wind industry

Deliverable 2.2, Overview of current social acceptance activities in the wind industry and gap analysis, WISE Power; Final version
: Dütschke, Elisabeth; Wesche, Julius P.

Volltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-3414159 (1020 KByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: 91a82d3a9beb635a735ca59c34275182
Erstellt am: 29.5.2015

Berlin: WISE Power Consortium, 2015, 52 S.
European Commission EC
IEE; IEE/13/528/SI2.674872; WISE Power
Bericht, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ISI ()

Wind is the most mature of the existing Renewable Energy System (RES) technologies and it is expected to play a fundamental role towards the transition to a new energy system. European citizens are generally in favour of wind energy, however, on a local level wind farm developers often meet opposition. Thus, aspects of social acceptance and how to conduct public participation for wind energy projects is a key challenge. As part of the WISE Power project, this report summarises the findings from an expert survey across Europe in order to map the status quo of these issues in wind farm development.207 questionnaires from 13 countries were assembled interviewing representatives from administration, project developers, cooperatives, environmental organisations, financial institutions and other active in the field of wind farm development. We find a high prevalence of social acceptance issues in the sample as the majority of study participants has experienced stops or at least delays of projects due to a lack of social acceptance and negative reactions are reported far more often than positive ones. However, it is also the common procedure in wind energy project development to engage in public participation often exceeding legal prescriptions. The main arguments raised against wind farms are the visual impact on landscapes followed by noise and the impact on the local ecosystem and wildlife. On the positive side, the local economic benefits as well as CO2 emissions reductions are seen as the most relevant. This can be understood that it might be helpful to also further strengthen the economics benefits on the local level to support social acceptance. Furthermore shared ownership, community benefits and involvement of the community in the design process are all perceived as helping measures to foster social acceptance. However they warrant careful implementation. Although public participation is frequent in wind energy projects many organisations involved do not have a standard procedure to deal with it and guidelines and other advice giving documents are often not known nor used. The main barrier to apply this knowledge seems to be the difficulty to transfer it to the specific conditions of a project. Regarding different levels of public participation, respondents seem to be more in favour of consultation and dialogue as well as informational measures; empowerment of the public is evaluated differently by the respondents. So far, recent experience with public participation concentrate on the phases of permitting, construction and operation. Thus, extending public participation to the preparation phase or later project phases is an issue that requires further attention. When study respondents provide feedback on where they would appreciate input the need for balanced information sticks out. The results of this report will form the basis for the Social Acceptance Pathways (SAPs) which are to be developed in the future work packages of the WISE Power project.