Conference programme

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015
14:30 - 16:00 Social acceptance of wind farms
Environmental impacts & social acceptance  
Onshore      Offshore    

Room: Montmartre

Learning objectives

1. to improve acceptance
2. to engage with local stakeholders
3. to support decision making
4. to share lessons learnt and experiences

Lead Session Chair:
Helene Gelas, CGR Legal, France
Han Lindeboom, IMARES, The Netherlands
Pia Dorfinger Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena), Germany
Angelika Baur (1) F
(1) German Energy Agency, Berlin, Germany

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Presenter's biography

Biographies are supplied directly by presenters at EWEA 2015 and are published here unedited

Pia Dorfinger is Project Manager at the German Energy Agency. Ms Dorfinger is responsible for the research and conceptualisation of renewable energy market analyses (European and international markets). She is furthermore working on the EU project WISE Power, which promotes best practices for social acceptance in the onshore wind sector. Previously Ms Dorfinger has worked in the renewable energy and climate change sector in London, UK and Manila, Philippines. She holds a Masters degree in International Business Administration from the University of Vienna and in Environment and Development from King’s College London.


Social Acceptance Pathways: Strategic Public Engagement for Successful Wind Project Implementation - Lessons Learned


According to scientific studies the acceptance of onshore wind farms depends on early and comprehensive involvement of the public (IEA’s Task 28, 2013; CANWEA Guideline, 2010).
A survey among 200 stakeholders in the wind industry (political decision-makers from municipalities, NGOs, banks and co-operatives), which was carried out within the framework of the EU project WISE Power between August 2014 and February 2015 revealed that European companies and communities are increasingly engaged in communication and cooperation activities. However, a strategic social engagement planning for wind projects is still lacking.
The survey further shows that there is a consensus among the industry that shared ownership schemes in particular, such as cooperatives, can boost acceptance of onshore wind projects. Nevertheless, developers to date primarily focus on individual communication activities, rather than on an overall strategic engagement of citizens in their onshore wind projects. Only 27 percent of the interviewees indicate to use a structured standard procedure for public engagement and participation.


Derived from the WISE Power assessment "Status quo of social acceptance strategies and practices in the wind industry" and in order to guide the building of strategic social engagement strategies the German Energy Agency has developed draft Social Acceptance Pathways (SAPs) in close cooperation with the WISE Power consortium partners.
The draft SAPs comprise core guidelines to engage citizens and communities consistently and strategically in onshore wind projects.
The main innovative ideas and creative solutions for fostering social acceptance for onshore wind derived from the SAPs will be presented to the public at the EWEA 2015 Annual Event.

Main body of abstract

The draft SAPs are derived from a range of innovative research, which has been undertaken within the WISE Power project. In total 55 social acceptance manuals and reports have been assessed, approximatively 300 interviews have been conducted with key stakeholders in 13 EU-countries (WISE Power target countries: Denmark, Germany, UK and Spain – considered as advanced markets; Greece, France, Italy, Ireland and Belgium – considered as growth markets; Croatia, Finland, Poland and Romania – considered as emerging markets) and two focused workshops were held. One core area of the assessment was identifying innovative financing models involving public participation.
The draft SAPs aggregate core knowledge and present key guidelines to enhance social acceptance for onshore wind projects.
The know-how compiled is designed to be taken up by all stakeholders involved in onshore wind projects. These are the onshore wind industry, local and regional public stakeholders (municipalities, authorities), citizens, financiers, political decision-makers (regional, national, EU-level), NGOs, cooperatives, energy suppliers and grid operators, banks and associations.


Via the suggested presentation the audience of the EWEA 2015 will gain insights into the different levels of strategic social engagement planning during all stages of an onshore wind project.
The presentation will give answers in particular to the following questions:
• Why is social acceptance crucial?
• What are the SAP action fields?
• How to assess the socio-economic context of onshore wind projects?
• How to review the project team’s competences in view of social acceptance?
• How to do a successful stakeholder mapping?
• How to design holistic SAP strategies?
• Which information, engagement and financial participation measures do exist?
• How to set up an implementation plan for holistic SAP strategies?

Learning objectives
The attendees will gain an overview of strategies that enhance social acceptance for onshore wind energy projects. Further, different tools that can be used by the wind industry to communicate, engage and cooperate with stakeholders will be presented.
Consequently the audience will get access to key knowledge on social acceptance practices.
A set of key questions will be tackled and a list of social acceptance measures applicable to projects will be presented. This will ensure strong gains in know-how for the delegates.
Further, interactive discussions will be stimulated.

Background on the WISE Power project
The WISE Power project (IEE/13/528/SI2.674872) receives funding under the Intelligent Energy Europe programme of the European Union. The project started in May 2014 and will finish in October 2016. Further information: