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Rural areas

(edited by JW 26th August)

In the following abstracts the municipalities “Dahme/Mark” and “Niederer Fläming”, region Havelland-Fläming, and “Uebigau-Wahrenbrück”, region Lausitz-Spreewald, are illustrated in further detail. Moreover, references to the local wind energy development are included.

Havelland-Fläming: Dahme/Mark and Niederer Fläming

The change of the landscape by technogenic elements, like wind turbines and power lines, can lead to adverse perceptions towards the politically driven wind energy development (cf. Caporal & de Lucia 2015, Swofford & Slattery 2010 or Larsen et al. 2015). Already occupying the second place with regard to the total installed capacity in MW among the federal states of Germany in 2015 (DEWI 2015), it is becoming apparent that Brandenburg provides favorable installation conditions for implementing the turnaround in energy policy at federal state level. Due to the enforced development of renewable energy resources the crucial question arises: what happens to a region if the visual landscape changes (see Fig. 1)? :?: Is that the only question? Sounds as if the visual impact is the only problem.

Fig. 1: Wind energy facilities close to housings in Dahme/Mark (Photo: R. Camargo)

Being strongly marked by wind turbines in the Havelland-Fläming region in Brandenburg, the municipalities “Dahme/Mark” and also “Niederer Fläming” are notable study sites in order to analyze the social acceptance towards locally installed wind turbines.

Starting with six single wind energy facilities in 1998, in the year 2016, the municipality Dahme/Mark now exceeds more than 81 wind facilities that provide a capacity of 128 MW (Amt Dahme/Mark 2016). And this is not all as the current “Regional Plan Havelland-Fläming 2020” puts once more strong emphasis on the energy transition and stipulates the development of wind energy among others in these municipalities (RP H-F 2015).

Against this background, the student’s project was initiated as a result of an inquiry of the “Regionale Planungsgemeinschaft Havelland Fläming” (engl., “regional planning association”) to conduct a survey about the local residents’ acceptance towards the wind energy development in the two areas “Dahme/Mark” and “Niederer Fläming”. As early as 2005, a survey has been conducted in these two municipalities in order to analyse the residents’ attitude towards the local wind energy development. Consequently, this posed an incentive for a current survey with the aim to assess and analyse whether the social acceptance of wind turbines has changed over a 10-years period. While in 2005, findings made clear that positive as well as negative perspectives approximately outweighed the residents’ attitude towards wind energy facilities, however, in the wake of the increasing expansion of wind facilities in and around the municipalities, it was now to assume as one research hypothesis that the attitude has changed to the negative.

Moreover, the second evident question for the student’s project arose, if there are differences in residents’ perception in comparison to other municipalities in the region Havelland-Fläming, which differ in historical and structural characteristics. For example, the municipality “Lausitz-Spreewald” was and still is strongly influenced by coal mining activities, while the city Potsdam might provide fewer contact points with local wind turbines in sub-urban areas. In both areas, residents, consequently, might tend to be more open towards the local wind energy development in Brandenburg whereas residents living in the rural areas close to the wind turbines might argue to converse, like in Dahme/Mark and Niederer Fläming. These research questions and hypotheses thus represented the framework of the student project’s survey.

However, it turned out that the responding rate of the student’s survey in Lausitz-Spreewald with 21 returned questionnaires was rather low; therefore the received replies could only represent a general indicator of the resident’s perception in a region characterised by former coal mining activities in comparison to the municipalties Dahme/Mark and Niederer Fläming in the region Havelland-Fläming.

Summary of the working hypotheses

The following working hypotheses of the student’s study in Havelland-Fläming can be summed up as follows:

  • There is a change of perception towards wind energy facilities approximately to the negative in a 10-years period.
  • People living in the former coal mining region of Lausitz-Spreewald might approve wind energy facilities more often than in Havelland-Fläming. However, it turned out that the responding rate of the student’s survey in Lausitz-Spreewald with 21 returned questionnaires was rather low; therefore the received replies could only represent a general indicator of the resident’s perception in a region characterised by former coal mining activities in comparison to the municipalties Dahme/Mark and Niederer Fläming in the region Havelland-Fläming. DELETEME Double information.
  • People in urban areas presumably tend to be more open towards wind energy. FIXME Needs explanation.

To further determine the influencing factors of the wind energy planning process on the resident’s attitude towards wind energy, the following secondary working hypotheses were formulated: FIXME Please refer back to the findings of the Synopsis to explain these hypothesis!

  • The acceptance of wind energy is higher when people perceive that wind turbines do not destroy landscape.
  • With greater distance to the wind farms & higher density of wind turbines, the acceptance of wind energy increases (distance & density factor),
  • With rising level of information, wind energy has a higher acceptance (information, participation),
  • The acceptance of wind energy increases with direct benefit from the renewable energy (economic factor).

Regional and wind energy characteristics of “Havelland-Fläming”

FIXME Whilst Fig. 4 got a reference, Fig. 2 and 3 have not been referenced. Thus, - very important, explain good visible in the flow of text - how have been Fig. 2 and 3 exactly been set up? Which data have been used? Any limitations?

Demographic characteristics

The region Havelland-Fläming is located in Brandenburg, comprises around 6,800 km² and consists of the counties “Havelland”, “Potsdam-Mittelmark” and “Teltow-Fläming” as well as the independent towns (ger., “kreisfreien Städte”) “Potsdam” and “Brandenburg an der Havel” (RP H-F 2016a). It is notable, that Havelland-Fläming is the most populous region in Brandenburg, but is characterized by a declining population in the rural areas, hence, the municipalities Dahme/Mark as well as Niederer Fläming are effected by the demographic change similarly (RP H-F 2016b). Currently, Dahme/Mark covers 162 km² and has a population about 5,253 inhabitants while Niederer Fläming comprises 185 km² with 3,186 inhabitants (Landkreis Teltow-Fläming 2016). In figure 2 the location of the municipalities Dahme/Mark and Niederer Fläming in the map of density of wind turbines in Brandenburg. FIXME Grammer of this sentence. :?: What are characteristics of this region? How does it earn money? How much of the area is used for agriculture? How much is forest? {{ :research:verortung_dm_und_nf.png |Fig. 2: Map of density of wind turbines in Brandenburg and selected municipalities Click here for the interactive map

Wind energy development

Concerning the wind energy development, in the region Havelland-Fläming there are currently 683 wind energy facilities with a capacity of 1,187 MW (RP H-F 2016c). In the municipality Dahme/Mark there are 50 wind facilities located and 10 are planned. In Niederer Fläming 57 wind facilities exist and three more are planned (RPHV 2016) (see figure 3).

{{ :research:rural_areas:fig._1_hf.png |Fig. 3: Wind energy facilities installed and under construction in Niederer Fläming and Dahme/Mark (2016) Click here for the interactive map

Designated areas for wind energy

Within the “Regional Plan Havelland-Fläming 2020”, which was approved in June 2015, the usage of wind energy is stipulated and the plan poses suitable areas for wind turbines, including potential areas for the location of wind turbines as well as designated areas (ger., “Windeignungsgebiete”) for wind energy. In total, the plan prescribes 24 designated areas for wind turbines in Havelland-Fläming (2,2 % of the region); approximately four of those are close or closer than 3.000 m to the municipalities Dahme/Mark and Niederer Fläming (cf. designated areas: “WEG 39 Ilmersdorfer Holz”, “WEG 40 Dahme”, “WEG 36 Sernower Heide”, “WEG 37 Schlenzer-Wahlsdorfer Heide”). The overall distance between the designated areas for wind turbines is 5.000 m with regard to the landscape’s aesthetics :?: (RP-HF 2015). All in all, the designated areas compromise 4 % of the total areas that are suitable for the usage of wind energy, but cannot be used due to e.g. the prescribed distances of importance for bird protection (ger., „tierökologische Abstandskriterien“), visual axes or forest functions etc. (cf. RP-HF 2015: 1002) :?: So they designate areas which can not be used? (see figure 4).

A minimum distance of 1.000 m of wind farms on local settlements is prescribed in the environmental report of the regional plan, while a distance of 600 m is required on single settlements (ger., “einzelne Siedlungsplätze”) (RP H-F 2015: 974).

Fig. 4: Relevant designated areas for wind energy faculties („WEG“) in Niederer Fläming (left) and Dahme/Mark (right) (extract of the regional plan 2020) (RP-HF 2015)

FIXME This section is very weak compared to the following. Please provide a short summary of the survey results of 2005, to provide a better idea of the attitude towards wind energy in this region. And what about all the citicens initiatives?


:-) This is very informative! But it is very disproportionate compared to the description of the other research area. Please try to enhance the other description, as it is the focus of your analysis. :!:

The Municipality Uebigau-Wahrenbrück is a rural municipality with 5,462 inhabitants. It is located in the south-west of Brandenburg. The area of the municipality, which overall has a size of 135 km², is mostly used for agriculture activities (87 km²) and further largely covered by forest (35 km²) (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013).

The population density in the municipality is very low, as the share of surface covered by the settlements. The rarely inhabited area of the municipality is divided into 21 subdistricts. These subdistricts differ in size and number of inhabitants, the largest of these subdistricts are Uebigau and Wahrenbrück (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2014).

Despite its rural characteristics it can be said, that energy production within the region is also of outstanding importance. From the beginning of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century coalmining within the municipality Uebigau-Wahrenbrück had an crucial impact on the local development of the region (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2014, Baxmann 2004 ). Still today remaining sites from the previous historical time are present in the landscape. For instance the subdistricts Domsdorf, Beutersitz and Wildgrube show a high historical influence of the coalmining activities throughout a regional coalmine and related factories like briquetting plants (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2014).

Today no active coalmine is to be found within the municipality and the historical coalmining sites just play a role within tourism sector (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2014). Therefore, the situation is significantly different from the neighborhood region in the south-east of Brandenburg, where still high scale coal-mining activities takes place (Brandenburgische Landeszentrale für politische Bildung 2013).

Even though there is no active coalmining within Uebigau-Wahrenbrück, it can be said, that the region, still continues with its tradition as an energy production region. However today the energy production in the municipality is not driven by coalmining, but renewable energies especially wind energy (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013).

Throughout the engagement of the Uebigau-Wahrenbrück the municipality became an important stakeholder for the regional renewable energy development. It is also remarkable that the municipality Uebigau-Wahrenbrück was engaged in several research cooperation. One of these projects for instance is called ‘Innovative Energieorte’, which aimed to identify opportunities for the local development of renewable energies (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013). Despite the research cooperation the municipality supports also pioneer projects which enforce the local renewable development. One of these pioneer projects is an old briquette fabric ‘louise’, which was turned into an climate and renewable energy school (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013). Another project worth noting is the construction of two ‘citizen wind turbines’ by an wind energy company in 2014. The aim of these citizen wind turbines is to enable the citizens to buy shares of the turbines and further to enable them to profit direct benefit of wind energy (UKA 2016, Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013).

As a result of the illustrated high engagement in research and other cooperation’s the municipality produce a consistent amount of renewable energy (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013). Indeed, the electricity production in 2010 of the municipality did not just cover the energy need within the region, but was about 424% of their own demand (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013). The overall production in this year was 91 GWh, from which 70 GWh could be exported to other regions. Furthermore, the municipality includes several types of different renewable energy sources, which are photovoltaic, biomass as well as solar heat. The largest and most important energy source however is wind energy, which already had a capacity of 85 GWh in 2010 (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013).

Today the municipality already has 32 installed wind turbines (see figure 5) and further there is an ongoing approval process for another 14 wind turbines and another 3 are in a construction process. These wind turbines are mostly situated in the two wind parks of the municipality (BKG 2016).

Fig. 5: Wind energy facilities installed and under construction in Uebigau-Wahrenbrück (2016) Click here for the interactive map

Despite the current increase of wind turbines, the long-time development of wind energy in the region is still uncertain, however, the climate protection concept of Uebigau-Wahrenbrück (2013) provides several scenarios about the potential future development of wind energy (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013). All these scenarios are based on the year 2010 data and estimate the technical and spatial development potentials for the renewable energy production in the year 2030. The predicted increase ranges from 'no significant increase’ up to nearly a doubling of the wind energy capacity. The ‘ambitious scenario’ states that an increase up to 226 GWh would be possible (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013).

Taking the increase of the wind energy in the last years and the possible future developments into account it can be said that wind energy is a crucial topic within Uebigau-Wahrenbrück. It is worth noting that in the climate protection concept of the municipality it is stated that the future development of wind energy in the region is not only depending on the spatial and technical possibilities, but also on public acceptance as this development has to be weighted against other public interests (Stadt Uebigau-Wahrenbrück 2013). This dependency of wind energy development on social acceptance once more shows the relevance of the debate about social acceptance and further this research.


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research/rural_areas.1479209837.txt.gz · Last modified: 2016/11/15 12:37 by johann.koeppel