The acceptance and support of a large part of the society and of decision-makers is urgently needed for the continued expansion of renewable energies towards being the primary means for energy and electricity provision; firstly because, for instance, affected inhabitants could prohibit a planned wind- or solar-power plant in their area via the planning-permission process, secondly as the extent to which EU projects are promoted and supported in each respective district and their chances of coming to fruition are highly dependent on the commitment and co-operation of municipal decision-makers. Equally, given the lack of acceptance, the financing of EU projects may defer to private investors and the consumption of “green energy” thus balancing out the sought-for further expansion.
The subject of the acceptance of renewable energies is highly complex, including problems on various levels:
There are conflicts between the goal to expand renewable energies and other goals such as nature conservation, power plants having negative effects from other perspectives. The disadvantages on a local level (such as noise and change to the appearance of the landscape) often conflict with the global benefits.
- Ecological factors are assessed in strongly differing ways. While industry representatives often emphasize the risks to competitiveness, questionnaires amongst the wider population show much less criticism of the subsidies given to renewable energies to date.
- Municipalities and their administrations play a critical role in the funding, use and promotion of renewable energies. The municipal energy policies practiced up till now include a mere fraction of the possible municipal measures which could be taken, such as the management of public land holdings. Existing possibilities, to create stronger incentives for private providers or citizens’ groups to use renewable energies through the creation of user-friendly structures, co-operation- and funding-mechanisms, have not yet been exhausted.
The issues will be examined on all three levels in the research project. The research project is divided into two smaller projects:
- Sub-project A: development of a strategic municipal energy policy (SKEP) to be used by providers of renewable energy.
- Sub-project B: Acceptance investigation into renewable energies on a regional level.
Addressing the accumulated questions, strategies will be developed in a series of workshops involving the relevant decision-makers, as to how the acceptance of renewable energy technologies can be funded and how their use on a regional and local level can be intensified.
Eine wissenschaftliche Zusammenarbeit findet weiterhin im Rahmen des Netzwerks Akzeptanz für Erneuerbare Energien mit der Umweltpsychologie der Universität Magdeburg statt.