03 May 2024, 13:21
Carolina Kyllmann

Lower local electricity prices could increase acceptance of onshore wind power expansion – survey

Clean Energy Wire

Approval rates for the construction of new wind turbines in the vicinity of people's homes in Germany can rise significantly if local electricity prices would drop as a result, according to a survey conducted by energy company Octopus Energy. The company offers dynamic electricity tariffs, reducing household electricity prices depending on regional renewable power generation. More than half of those surveyed said they would be in favour of new wind turbines built within a three-kilometre radius of their home. If electricity costs are "significantly" reduced, the proportion of supporters of onshore wind power expansion near one's home rises from just over 50 percent to 68 percent, according to the survey conducted by pollster Civey.

"Many Germans understand how important wind power is for our future," Octopus Energy head Bastian Gierull said. "The figures also show how essential participation is for local people, for example through subsidised electricity prices." Overall, 58 percent of those surveyed said they supported wind power expansion. However, there is a big difference between eastern and western Germany, with support in the former peaking at 48 percent and in the latter reaching 61 percent. Political attitudes also influence acceptance.

The need for energy supply security, brought to the forefront following Russia's war in Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis, increased the German population’s acceptance of the expansion of renewables. After years of lagging progress, onshore wind expansion gained significant momentum in 2023, with almost 50 percent more turbines installed in comparison to the previous year. While most people support the technology's roll-out, Germany’s most important renewable energy source also has a history of opposition, with citizen initiatives lamenting the turbines’ effects on people, wildlife and natural scenery. Germany aims to cover 80 percent of total electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2030.

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