Two German towns illustrate how to build support for the Energiewende - or lose it
Two German towns in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein present a case study in how to build local support for the energy transition - or how to lose it, writes Paul Hockenos in a feature for Canadian outlet Hakai Magazine (read the full article in English here). Nearly all 325 residents in the village of Reussenköge are shareholders in the local wind farm - and local support for the project is high. Meanwhile, turbines erected by a private developer near the village of Waabs has prompted local opposition. The contrast has lessons for those who hope to expand renewable power generation in Germany and around the world, Hockenos writes. Citizen-owned projects could be key to building public support for major renewable energy projects. “The locals have to profit from renewable energy, not the big utilities and profit-minded developers,” engineer Dirk Ketelsen, the force behind the Reussenköge wind park, tells Hockenos. “Nobody likes being dictated to.”
The rapid growth of German wind power has made turbines some of the most visible elements of the country’s Energiewende, the effort to transition away from fossil fuels. But the turbines have also met resistance from citizens worried about their impact on people, wildlife and natural scenery. Germany must continue to expand its renewable generation to meet its climate targets, and that has made maintaining public support an urgent concern for proponents of renewable energy.