20 May 2019

German Country Desk Meeting on Social Acceptance of Wind Energy

The second regular meeting of the German Country Desk took place on May 15 2019 in in the Academic Senate Hall of the Henry Ford Building of the Freie Universität Berlin. The German WinWind partners Environmental Policy Research Centre of the Freie Universität Berlin and seecon Ingenieure discussed with over 30 participants including both institutional actors, renewable energy associations, representatives of the wind energy branch and planning authorities current energy policy and acceptance related developments in the WinWind target regions (Saxony, Thuringia) and model regions (Brandenburg, Schleswig-Holstein). Furthermore, the ongoing transfer activities from Thuringia (Service Unit Wind Energy) to the Land Brandenburg were presented.


After an introduction to the major preliminary achievements of the WinWind project also including the selection of best practices and transfer activities by Rosaria Di Nucci (FUB-FFU) and Michael Krug (FUB-FFU), Swantje Vondran (seecon Ingenieure) illustrated the stakeholder consultation that is going to be launched via an online survey. Arthur Hinsch (ICLEI) invited to the EU-policy roundtable, taking place in Brussels on June 17 2019 within the EU Sustainable Energy Week EUSEW.


Wolfgang Daniels, the president of the Association of Renewable Energy in Saxony illustrated recent developments in the target region Saxony and Antje Kießwetter, Head of Department in the Thuringian Ministry of Energy, Environment and Nature Conservation informed the audience about the energy policy developments in her Land, in particular about the measures aimed at enhancing acceptance. She also gave an overview of the width of the opposition to new wind energy developments. This block of presentations was followed by a talk of Maike Striewski of Brandenburg Invest (WFBB), the business development agency of the state of Brandenburg who focused on recent energy policy developments including five so called Regional conferences  of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. She also highlighted the work of the advisory unit for renewable energy established on January 1, 2019 in the business development agency. This was followed by a presentation of Tomke Lisa Menger of the Energy Agency of North Rhine-Westphalia, the largest regional energy agency in Germany, who presented the activities to enhance dialogue in wind energy. In her experience the major challenges are dealing with citizens' initiatives, limited participation in wind energy, lack of resources in the municipalities, lack of neutrality among the developers and to create transparency.


Frank Sondershaus of the German Onshore Wind Energy Agency (Fachagentur Wind an Land), addressed in his keynote speech issues concerning procedural and distributional fairness in wind energy development and illustrated current proposals to strengthen procedural and financial participation of local communities including special charges and levies to be paid by the operators of wind farms with the aim to improve financial participation of local communities (e.g. concession levy and other models).


The event was concluded by a round table moderated by Arthur Hinsch of ICLEI Europe. Apart from the speakers, members of the panel were the Mayor of the town Treuenbrietzen in the Land Brandenburg and Ruth Brandt-Schock of Enercon (Head of Policy and Government Relations). The discussion focused on policy measures and initiatives on the federal and state level aiming at enhancing municipalities’ / citizens’ participation in the generated added value of wind turbines and on measures to increase transparency and trust. The panel further discussed issues such as whether community/municipal wind energy projects should be exempted from taxes and whether and how regional specificities should be taken into account (for example inhabitant density) and what is the role of informal participation instruments. The documentation of the event will soon be available on the website of the WinWind project.