European Commission > Energy > Intelligent Energy Europe

Fostering Social Acceptance for wind power (WISE POWER)

Project brief
Key action: Electricity production
Status: Ongoing
Coordinator: -
European Wind Energy Association, Belgium
Partners: Association pour la Promotion des Energies Renouvelables (APERe), Belgium
REScoop.be (REScoop.be), Belgium
DUNEA llc, Regional Development Agency Dubrovnik Neretva County (DUNEA llc), Croatia
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Croatia
Guldborgsund Municipality (GBS), Denmark
Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena), Germany
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., Germany
Terna Energy Industrial Commercial and Technical Company SA, Greece
PROVINCIA DI SAVONA, Italy
ACCIONA Energía S.A., Spain
Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE), Spain
The Scottish Government (SG), United Kingdom
Western Isles Council (CnEs), United Kingdom
Website:
Benefits: -
Keywords: Social Acceptance Pathways, active engagement, community engagement, local communities, citizen ownership
Duration: 23/06/2014 - 23/01/2015
Budget: EUR 1 (EU contribution: 0%)
Contract number: IEE-13-528

Summary

The WISE Power project aims at accelerating and adding certainty to planning processes by decreasing local community opposition to wind energy, the overhead lines connecting them and other necessary grid infrastructure upgrades. This will be done in line with, and reflecting, society’s broad acceptance of wind energy.

The project intends to promote:
a) Existing developed Social Acceptance Pathways (SAP) demonstrating how processes for active engagement and citizen ownership work;
b) Improved social acceptance pathways suggested by the consortium for a more successful engagement to be applied by all stakeholders in the planning process for wind farms, their grid connection and other necessary grid infrastructure.

These pathways will aim to increase local awareness and participation in the conception, development and benefits of wind power projects and, consequently, shorten the lead time of administrative process by reducing resistance and appeals. To achieve the overall objective, information on current community engagement and existing social acceptance measures - financial and non-financial - will be collated. The project will consider the relevant planning processes for wind projects, their grid connections and other necessary grid infrastructure in a representative sample of EU Member States as defined by the project. The project will also develop improved social acceptance pathways for successful engagement with local communities and citizens (all key stakeholders).

The project will have a strong focus on alternative measures of funding such as community and cooperative funding of wind farms. It will consider a suite of sources of alternative financing mechanisms and/or fiscal incentives that can have a positive impact on empowering communities, local RES cooperatives and developers’ financial understanding of wind projects as a method to enhance societal engagement. Opportunities for cooperatives to access tailor-made loan or financing facilities allowing them to increase their capabilities as alternative sources of funding will also be explored.

In addition, the project will lay the foundations for structures that will help the wind industry and other relevant stakeholder to form networks for the exchange of best practice and new approaches for increasing social acceptance strategies. The newly designed SAP will be validated, tested and implemented in EU Member States contributing to capacity building for the sector.

Results
  • Reduction of wind farm permitting lead times to 24 months, as recommended by the Wind Barriers project; and reduction of required transmission and distribution infrastructure permitting lead times to 3 to 4 years as indicated by the European Commission in its Energy Infrastructure Package.
  • Status quo of social acceptance measures for wind farm and associated grid infrastructure used by the wind industry in European countries;
  • A monitoring tool, the results of which will enable the identification of this project barriers, addressing knowledge gaps and measuring the overall project performance;
  • Social acceptance pathways available in 10 languages containing concrete steps (targeted at local communities, authorities, developers, system operators, citizens, cooperatives & environmental organisations) for community engagement, benefit sharing mechanisms & communication on local impacts or potential conflicting interests; the latter will be validated through working meetings, test exercises and real case scenarios/engagement with ‘real life’ developments to obtain grass-roots feedback;
  • Capacity building amongst and information on national, regional/local stakeholders (communities, regional and local municipalities and authorities, developers, policy makers, others) and EU policymakers, empowering them to envisage putting forward new pathways for social acceptance and explore options for improving the permitting process of wind farms and their associated grid infrastructure.

Lessons learnt
  • Grant agreement not yet signed.
 

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