Onshore wind farms? The Germans don’t mind theirs at all


According to a new study commissioned by German developer Greenpeace Energy, the vast majority of German consumers don’t mind having a wind farm nearby – in fact, most hardly notice them at all, contrary to arguments from anti-wind groups, and other detractors of the technology’s social impact.

Of just over 1,000 participants in surveying institute Kantar’s study at the end of August, 47% said they are ‘not disturbed’ at all by wind turbines, while another 38% said they felt ‘hardly disturbed.’ A third of those surveyed live in close-proximity or nearby to wind farms or turbines.

Just 9% of participants felt ‘very disturbed’ and another 4% said they are ‘quite disturbed’ by onshore wind power.

Greenpeace Energy announced the results ahead of German energy minister Peter Altmaier’s upcoming crisis summit on Thursday 05 September. Altmeier invited prominent industry members as well as anti-wind groups to the summit, with the aim of finding ways to improve public acceptance of wind power.

Onshore wind development has all-but-stalled in the country, following, in part as a result of lengthy legal cases opened by anti-wind groups.

“People on the ground accept wind energy much more clearly than the public debate is feigning,” said Sönke Tangermann, board member at Greenpeace Energy.

“Approval is particularly high exactly where people live with an above average number of wind turbines. In northwestern German states with their very high degree of wind energy penetration, 98% of those polled actually said that machines in their vicinity are ‘hardly’ or ‘not at all disturbing’.”

Results from the survey indicate that 79% of residents wish to be more closely involved in the planning of new projects, and benefit from reduced power pricing from nearby wind facilities, with a further 64% of the opinion that a share in profits would help foster further acceptance.

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