Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin)
School VI - Planning Building Environment, Environmental Assessment and Planning Research Group, Straße des 17. Juni 145, D-10623 Berlin, http://www.umweltpruefung.tu-berlin.de
Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin)
School VI - Planning Building Environment, Environmental Assessment and Planning Research Group, Straße des 17. Juni 145, D-10623 Berlin, http://www.umweltpruefung.tu-berlin.de
(Jill & Jessica)
In the following abstract the results of the survey in Havelland-Fläming and Lausitz-Spreewald are presented in further detail. The frequency analysis was conducted for each question of the questionnaire. Hence, in the case of equal questions, the results of the survey in Uebigau-Wahrenbrück are included in the description of the results. Therefore, the response rate compromises 187 residents conveying their specific perception towards wind energy. The questions are individually described, excluding the open questions (6.19, 11.8, 14 & 15.2). The local specific results are only highlighted if they differ significantly. The description contains the key graphs and tables that are completed by the annex (Link), which provides all graphical outcome of the questionnaire. Furthermore, the crucial differences in the results of 2016 and 2005 are additionally mentioned. The compilation of all former results related to the current ones can be found in the annex (Link).
According to the structure of the questionnaire, the results can be divided overall in two main parts. The first part compromises the general attitude and perception (question 1-7). Thus, included sub-categories are role of the information process, the attitude towards certain energy resources as well as the, the perception and position in terms of wind energy. The second part determines the specific attitude and perception of the residents when it comes to local planning processes (question 8-24). These sub-categories imply: the attitude towards wind energy and the corresponding perception and awareness of local developments and the willingness to pay for electricity, as well as socio-demographic characteristics.
The first question (Abb. 1) enquiries how the people inform themselve about future energy supply, therby showing which information carriers are crucial as the information source. The results demonstrate that newspapers play with 80 frequent and 53 moderate readers out of 187 the most important role, which is followed by information that derives from television, and talks with acquaintances. The internet is less consulted as information source and especially specialised literature and further education nearly do not play any role in the information process at all.
Subsequently, question no.2 (Abb. 2) asks for the general perception of how well informed the people feel in terms of energy supply. The outcome shows that more than 60% of the people feel “rather a lot” and “sufficiently” informed about the energy resource coal and subsequently about solar energy. According to wind energy, the people also feel to well informed, while they feel “rather little“ and “rather low” informed about natural gas at 40 %, biomass at 52 % and nuclear energy at 46 %. Consequently, it is shown that the interviewees feel in general better informed about the common renewable energy resources like wind and solar energy, in contrast to conventional energy resources like natural gas. Again, there are no striking differences in the response option by distinguishing the three municipalities.
The desired information about conventional and renewable energy resources (Abb. 3) differs in the perceived information (cf. question no. 2). All in all, the interviewees indicated that they would like to receive more information on solar energy at 63 %, wind energy at 37 % and biomass at 27 %. The least people would like to learn more about coal. The allocation of responses does not differ significantly by comparing the three single municipalities.
In this sub-category the questions pursue to identify the general attitude of the inhabitants towards energy resources and renewable energy resources, as well as the perception and awareness of the energy development.
Consequently, question no. 4 (Abb 4) refers to the position of the inhabitants in terms of what roll shall certain energy sources take for energy production in Germany. The results show that in general the majority consider renewable energy sources as more applicable. While solar power with more than 80% is generally regarded as the most appropriate resource, energy generated by biomass shall take a less significant role for the energy production. According to the conventional energy sources, it is shown that they are not considered as eligible. Especially the energy production by nuclear power with nearly 70% in total is regarded as the least appropriate.
In 2005 the people were also asked about the role of hard coal, brown coal, which was combined to coal in 2016, and hydropower. Due to these differences the results are not completely comparable and the graphs only shows those, which are. Nevertheless in both years renewable energy sources are, according to the answers, highly important for the future energy production in Germany. (Abb. 5) For example 91% of the participants in 2005 thought solar energy chould have a high priority for energy production. In 2016 it was still 84%.
Figure 6 represents the general position about renewable energy sources. In total, more than 60% show a positive attitude, while the half of them even highly value renewables. Around 20% are “neutral” and less than 10% consider renewables as “little” valuable. It is slightly striking that in Dahme/Mark a higher percentage is “neutral” than in Niederer Fläming. Moreover, the three not answered and the only one, which considers renewables as not valuable, are from Dahme/Mark.
These results pose a difference to those of the survey from 2005 (question No.4). As shown in figure 7, currently a higher percentage considers renewables as valuable or even highly valuable. However, the former the results show that also in 2005 the majority had a positive attitude to the respective energy sources. It is noteworthy that back then the most common answer was “neutral”, while currently it is “rather a lot”. Despite that, more people in 2016 consider renewables as “rather little” valuable, the rate of the answer “little” was in 2005 six times higher than now. Regarding the compared local specific results, it is slightly noticeable that in Niederer Fläming the positive attitude (“rather a lot” and “a lot”) has increased by 13%.
The question No. 6 asks for agreement or disagreement on several statements regarding wind power. These 18 statements represent rather positive ones (No. 6.1 – 6.9) and rather negative ones (No. 6.10 - 6.18). In total, the most agreed positive statements are: “The use of wind energy reduces pollution and slows down climate change” (6.2), “Wind turbines are a technical advance” (6.5), “Wind energy conserves non-renewable (fossil) resources” (6.7) and “Wind energy is an alternative to nuclear power” (6.8).
On the other hand, the most agreed negative statements are: “Wind turbines destroy the landscape” (6.10), “Wind turbines produce noise” (6.11), “Wind turbines generate shadow flicker” (6.13), “Wind turbines are a danger for wildlife (birds, bats)” (6.14) and “Energy saving is better than the promotion of wind turbines” (6.18).
Slightly remarkable differences in the local specific results occur with the statement that “wind energy promotes the economy and creates jobs” (6.3) and that “the use of wind energy is economically viable and profitable” (6.4). While in Uebigau-Wahrenbrück and Niederer Fläming the majority agrees on them, in Dahme/Mark the results show that 2/3 disagree. (Abb 10)
Furthermore, there is a local difference according to the statement that “wind energy is an alternative to nuclear power” (6.8). Compared to Dahme/Mark and Niederer Fläming, a higher percentage from Uebigau-Wahrenbrück disagrees on that. (Abb 11)
In terms of shading and flickering generated by the wind turbines (6.13) the inhabitants of Dahme/Mark agree the most with this statement as well as that “wind turbines are a danger for wildlife” (6.14). “Wind turbines endanger through ice throw” (6.15) also divides the results. In Uebigau-Wahrenbrück, the majority disagrees, while the other mainly agree (Abb 12).
In addition to the statements from question No.6, there are statements created specifically for Uebigau-Wahrenbrück (Abb. 13) based on the difference in the locational characteristics. These results show that they agree the most on that “the wind turbines bring only a few people economic benefits” (12.10) and that “the long-term effects of wind turbines on human health are uncertain” (12.11). These are consistent with the position that they agree on the statements “energy production by brown coal mining is economically viable” (4.13) and that this type of energy production creates jobs (4.12). Nevertheless, the majority also agrees on one contradictory statement to those before that “brown coal mining destroy the landscape” (4.10).
Following, as shown in figure 14 the question No. 7 represents the general position in terms of the use of wind energy. In total, around 40% are rather or total in favour of the wind energy, which outweighs the proportion that is rather or total against it. A share of nearly 20% is neutral. In Dahme/Mark, twice as many people are totally against wind energy as in Niederer Fläming, while the highest share of people that are totally in favour live in Uebigau-Wahrenbrück. Additionally there are no neutral answers.
Compared these results with the former survey (Abb. 15), a similar difference is shown as previously described regarding the attitude of renewable energy sources in general. The results of the general position in terms of the use of wind energy have significantly changed. The outweighing positive results pose an increase of 11%. In 2005, more than 40% answered negatively, while currently this answers have decreased by 8%. Consequently, the results of this question are consistent with the positive development shown before (question No.5).
When local information processes are analysed in further detail (Abb 16), it is striking that people mostly heard from local wind energy projects by the press (in total at 58 %). Likewise the municipality (in total at 45 %) and the neighbours (in total at 39%) play an important role in the information process. Inferior received information is obtained from investors. What is also flamboyant is that in Dahme/Mark the neighbours more often inform people about local planning processes at 45 % in comparison to Niederer Fläming (30 %). The same Trend is visible with the authority as an information source, where in Niederer- Fläming 32% get informed, while it is 53% in Dahme/Mark.
In terms of the point of time when people felt informed about local wind energy developments, findings point out that the residents do no feel informed in a timely manner (Abb. 17). According to this, the majority answered at 37 % that they receive information about the local wind projects “only when everything was already decided”. Additionally, a great number feels informed “too late” at 21 %, hence, in total the interviewees make clear that the local information process is unsatisfying over 50 % of the response rate. Nevertheless, there are also residents that feel informed “just in time” at (15 %). Especially Dahme/Mark and Niederer Fläming show similar answers as people feel informed “early” at 19 % and 21 %.
The results of the question whether residents feel well informed about local planning processes of wind energy projects (Abb. 18), it is noticeable that most of the interviewed people feel “too little” and “not at all” informed at 67 %. In contrast, only “good informed” feel people at 2,7 %. The results only differ slightly in the municipalities Dahme/Mark and Niederer Fläming, people feel sufficient informed at 21 % in Niederer Fläming, while in Dahme/Mark responses represent this attitude at 31 %. Nevertheless, it has to be noted that the overall response rate in Dahme/Mark is doubled compared to the response rate in Niederer Fläming.
The question No. 11 (Abb. 19) shows the actual reactions of the inhabitants when they learned that wind turbines are planned in their neighbourhood. The opportunities compromise a range from the desire to participate to indifference. The most people do not mind a few turbines, but do not want a large wind farm (11.4), especially in Dahme/Mark. Another predominant reaction compromises the feeling of uncertainty and that is depends on the location of the turbines (11.3). The third most common response is that they spoke against it (11.5). Nevertheless, only 20 people in total indicate that they tried to stop the project (11.5). The positive reactions such as “I wanted to go along immediately“ (11.1) or “I welcomed it“ (11.2) remain limited, and only six people did not care at all (11.7).
Thus, question No. 12 addresses the hypothetical acceptance and asks under what conditions the people would consider the use of wind energy as meaningful in their neighbourhood. The three most common conditions are related to economic terms: “If it would bring financial benefits for the individuals” (12.4), “if more money was coming into the municipal treasury by the wind turbines” (12.5) and “if jobs would be created in the region by the use of wind energy” (12.6). However, Dahme/Mark would rather consider wind energy as meaningful if it would indicate that it performs environment-friendly (12.3) and if it would be an alternative to nuclear power and to fossil fuels (12.2). For the latter Niederer Fläming would also rather accept wind energy, while the environmental-friendly performance is less meaningful for them. In total, 20 people would find it useful under no circumstances, 12 from Dahme/Mark and 8 from Niederer Fläming.
Question No. 13 shows the perception of the general mood on wind turbines. In total, the people consider the mood with around 60% as mixed and with more than 30% as negative. Only two people assume that it is positive and two others that it is indifferent. The highest share of people that considers the mood as negative is from Dahme/Mark. The perceived mood from 2005 varies from these results. Although the most people also considered the mood as mixed, nearly 10% more responded that the general mood is negative. Astonishingly, more answers were positive and indifferent, however the total amount was high either. In terms of the respective municipalities, it is remarkable that in Niederer Fläming the negative share from 2005 (63%) has decreased by nearly 40% and changed rather to mixed. The result of Dahme/Mark show the contrary development as there are now 10% more negative based on the less mixed and positive perceptions.
Fig. y: Comparison of the question 13 to the 20015-surves (question no. 12)
Question No. 15 refers to the perceived disturbance of the people. As shown in figure X, in total, nearly 60% feel disturbed by wind turbines and around 30% do not feel disturbed. A small share does not know. The most people that agree on this question are from Dahme/Mark and pose there a share of nearly 70%. In Niederer Fläming and Uebigau-Wahrenbrück, the amount of the people that agree or disagree is almost the equal.
By comparing the responses of the current survey of the year 2016 to the survey that was conducted approximately 10 years ago in the year 2005, it is becoming obvious that during a 10-years period interviewed people nowadays feel slightly more disturbed by wind turbines. Hence, it is noticeable that the overall attitude towards wind turbines has not changed since in both surveys more people feel disturbed by wind turbines than people that respond to the contrary.
While in the year 2005 there was a differences of 8 % of people who feel more disturbed than people that do not feel disturbed by wind turbines, in the year 2016 there is a differences of 16 %. However, it has to be noted, that by comparing both surveys the total sample number is more than doubled. Against this background, the overall attitude towards wind turbines has only slightly changed to the negative in a 10-years period.
Fig. xy:Comparison of the results of questions 15 (survey 2016) to the question 17 (survey of 2005}
Question 16 asks more precisely where and how much the people consciously notice the wind turbines. In total, the most people strongly notice them outside of the town while walking (16.4). This result is mainly influenced by the great amount of people who responded that from Dahme/Mark. In the town from the streets poses also an environment where people notice wind turbines (16.3). However, the share of strongly and medially noticed is almost equal and around 30% do not or slightly notice wind turbines there. From the garden or the terrace (16.2) approximately 28% strongly and less than 20% medially notice wind turbines. From the inside of the house (16.1) the people mainly do not or slightly notice them.
Afterwards, the inhabitants are asked to estimate the distance from their houses to the next wind turbine. In Dahme/Mark the most people think that the next wind turbines are 1,000 m or 1,600 m away. More than 10% beliefs that they are located within 800 m. The rest thinks the next wind turbines are 3,000 m or more away. In Niederer Fläming the results are similar, however less people belief them only 1,000 m or 1,600 m away. In Uebigau-Wahrenbrück the people perceive them as either close with 1,000 m or far away with more than 3,000 m. Related to the previous question, No. 18 asks about the position on how far the wind turbines shall be at least away from homes. In each municipality the inhabitants mostly want them to be located more than 3,000 m away from their homes, followed by within 3,000 m. Around 20% in total could live with wind turbines that are 1,600 m away and approximately 10% with a distance of 1,000 m.
The number of wind turbines close to settlements often plays an important for accepting the local wind energy development. It is striking that 71 % of the interviewees only tolerate a small number of 1 to 10 wind turbines in their neighbourhood. More than 30 wind turbines are mostly rejected, only 5,8 % would support a local wind energy development in this amount.
When it comes to question whether there are economic benefits of wind turbines for the municipality (20), in general most of the interviewees respond that local wind turbines can generate a few thousand Euros of income for the municipality (44 %) and only a few think that it is about several hundred Euros (28 %). Therefore, it is becoming clear that overall people do not belief that there are (local) economic benefits due to the installation of wind turbines. As there was in total a response rate of nearly 20 % that did not answer this question at all, it is striking that many feel not informed about the economic impacts of wind turbines.
The question about the willingness to pay for higher electricity prices (21) significantly shows that in total 71 % would not pay more clean energy. Only 12 % of the interviewed residents would agree to pay for higher electricity prices.
By comparing the surveys of the year 2005 to the year 2016, it is becoming obvious that the overall attitude not to pay for higher electricity prices if the electricity is generated by clean energy has not changed in a 10-years period. In both surveys, more than 60 % dismiss higher energy prices due to renewable energy resources. Still, it has to be noted that in 2016 the overall negative attitude slightly declined at 9 % due to the fact that in 2016 a few more people would accept higher energy prices at the same time, as more people feel undecided whether they are willing to pay a higher price for clean energy. Therefore it is noticeable that there is a small trend to accept economic changes due to the energy transition.
Fig. xy: Comparison of the results of the 2005-survey to the 2016-survey (questions 21 and 22)
The future amount of electricity generated by wind turbines in the electricity supply is estimated slightly different (22). While all three municipalities respond almost to the same rate that the contribution will be around 21 to 30 %, especially Dahme/Mark considers the possible share for 10 to 20 %. In total, only 4,9 % of the interviewees believe that energy supply by wind energy will be between 51 and 60 %.
The age distribution in Havelland-Fläming and Uebigau-Wahrenbrück (23) is in general characterised by people at 51 to 80 year old (67 %), while there were responses in the survey of people being 51 to 60 years old at 31 %. Only 3 % of the participants were 20 to 30 years old. The age distribution differs slightly in the municipalities. While in Niederer Fläming the distribution of the ages 41 to 70 years old is equal, in Dahme/Mark the population is mainly characterised by people between 51 and 60 years old.
In general, it is becoming obvious that most of the interviewed people live since their birth or more than ten years in the municipalities at 80 % (see Figure 24).
Within the overall frequency analysis results, certain main findings can be highlighted that provide indications if the social acceptance is gone with the wind. According to the subdivision of the survey into two categories, divergent tendencies are shown. On the one hand, regarding the general attitude and perception, several positive trends are presented. The comparison with the survey from 2005 stresses on a general positive development. However, on the other hand, in terms of the specific outcomes at a scale of local planning processes, the positions of the respondents have partially become even more negative.
In respect to the first category, the majority considers renewable energy sources as appropriate and valuable. The increase of positive attitudes in Niederer Fläming is remarkable (by 13%). Wind energy generally regarded as a technical advance, which conserves non-renewable (fossil) resources and as an alternative to nuclear power. Nevertheless, in terms of the potential impacts of wind energy, it is associated with destruction of the landscape, noise, shadow flicker and danger for wildlife. Thus, the majority perceives energy saving as a better than the actual promotion of wind energy. It can be highlighted that Dahme/Mark significantly disagrees on positive economic outcomes of wind energy. The results of the general position in terms of the use of wind energy show that the general social acceptance has significantly increased over the 10-years period (by 11%). Once more, Dahme/Mark is striking negatively as it is twice as much against it as Niederer Fläming.
In contrast, the results concerning the local scale indicate overall different positions. The majority does not feel timely and too less informed about wind energy projects in their neighbourhood. However, the share of responses that indicate a negative mood has decreased and changed to a greater mixed atmosphere. Another negative trend is shown regarding the disturbance by wind energy, which has risen around 8%. Related to that, most of the people perceive the next wind turbines as only 1,000 to 1,600 m away from their homes and reject more than ten wind turbines. According to economic matters, wind energy is mainly not considered as contributing to a significant extent to the local economic benefits. Additionally, it is striking that the majority would not pay more for “clean energy”; the rejecting answers have decreased, though.
In general, the age distribution is characterised by people at 51 to 80 years old (67%), of which most people already live there since birth or more than ten years in the municipalities (80 %).
All in all, while Dahme/Mark provides a predominant share of negative responses, especially in economic terms (concerning question 6.3, 7, 13, 15, 16.4), Niederer Fläming shows a positive development of the social acceptance (concerning question 5 and 13). Since in Uebigau-Wahrenbrück has not been a survey conducted, no development can be drawn.
The questionnaire contains certain open questions that do not suggest possible answers and are placed at the very end of a question. They were designed to elicit personal information since the respondents can contribute through their own comments. This analysis emphasizes those that relate to the attitude and perception of the people. Thus, when respondents expressed personal thoughts, an emotional impression of the social acceptance is indicated. The open questions are framed to encourage the explanation mainly with a sentence or some keywords. The analysed comments are categorised by relating them with the factors of the synopsis, to verify the findings of the literature review. Due to the predominantly negative connotation, neutral or even positive trends are only mentioned where appropriate. According to each open question, the most catching are additionally highlighted.
Within the first open question (No. 6.19), the people are asked for additional statement(s) that they support regarding wind power. In total, around one fifth of all respondents gave their own statement to this question. The most frequent statements are related to the factors of “degradation of the environment by installation”. In addition, “energy security” and “energy prices” are also frequently expressed. Moreover, a considerable share of comments refers to “distributive justice” in terms of “benefits sharing” and “direct benefits”. The given comments are almost entirely with a negative connotation. The statements range from “Wind energy promotes corruption” to even strongly emotional ones “I personally experienced how a flock a big birds (Herons) alive, bleeding heavily, got up with tattered wings and tried to fly despite partially demolished wings. That's torture! And ruthlessness against our roommates of our planet”. Notwithstanding, there are a few neutral comments and one striking statement, which shows a positive attitude: “I rather watch 100 wind turbines than 1 nuclear power plant”.
The second open question (No. 11.8) asks for the reaction of the people when they learned about planned wind turbines in their neighbourhood. Less than 10% of the respondents expressed additional reactions that were not covered by the previously suggested ones. However, many of the answers express rather an attitude than an actual reaction. According to the factors, it is slightly striking that the most frequent reaction is related to the “location”, especially in terms of the distance to the next wind turbines, and the “degradation of the environment”. Nonetheless, a considerable share of the reactions refers to “distributive justice” regarding direct benefits, “perceived procedural fairness” as well as the “number of installed wind turbines”. The overall connotation of the expressed reaction is negative. Therefore, the relatively common comment is as the following: “It’s a shame when forests are deforested for wind turbines”. But also regarding economic terms “I was upset that no wind turbine was built on my private land”. The most ambitious reaction is expressed by a person that initiated a “petition, letter to Office Administration [and a] letter to the Bundestag”.
Following, the people can express additional conditions under which they would consider the use of wind energy as meaningful in the neighbourhood (No.12.8). It is noticeable that the most given conditions refer to “energy prices”. According to this, a typical comment is as the following: “If my power bill would be cheaper”. Additionally common conditions are related to “energy security” like: “If the wind energy can be usefully stored longer and not being pumped into the air”. Another considerable share of the respondents would consider wind energy as meaningful if the respective wind turbines are located not so close, not in the forest and not so many. Consequently, they refer to the factors “location”, “degradation of the environment by installation” and “number of installed wind turbines”. A catchy comment related to the latter is: “If the number of wind turbines would not reduce my quality of life […]”. By adding an additional condition, the respondents express that the previous suggested ones remain insufficient. Thus, the comments show overall a rather negative tendency. However, there is an appreciable share of comment that is expressed in a neutral way, such as: “If there is a meaningful local concept for alternative energy supply in this region”.
The open question about the disturbance by wind turbines has the highest response rate as 50% of all respondents gave a comment to it. Nearly half of them feels disturbed by wind turbines regarding the produced noise. It is striking that most of the people are affected by the noise when there is east wind. Therefore, comments are likely to be as: “Noise! When it is east wind, then sleeping is only possible with closed windows” as well as “We had to change our bedroom because of the harassment by lighting in the night and the optics“, which also refers to visibility especially by night. Moreover, the landscape scenery is highly important to most of people, thus the feel disturbed by wind turbines as “the landscape is disfigured”. As the previous question No. 11.8 and 12.8 also show, is the importance of the factor “location” and “number of wind turbines”. Therefore, comments resemble: “Too many wind turbines are in the vicinity. The wind turbines can also be more evenly distributed over Germany”. In addition, a considerable share also relates the disturbance to the “degradation of the environment” and the “design of individual wind turbines”, especially regarding the height. Furthermore, some comments explicitly refer to “bird fatalities”. The overall attitude in this open question is negative as the respondents add comments to the source of disturbance. Thus, it is frequently shown, that one comment mentioned many different factors at the same time. Accordingly, the attitudes become even more negative and lead to comments such as: “Anxiety, when driving under the rotor blades with bike or car”. Since the disturbance physically refers to the wind turbines, it is not surprising that no comments can be related to economic terms.
The responses to the open questions show a great diversity. Although, the predominant connotation is negative, neutral and even positive attitudes are also expressed. These results are partially consistent with the findings of the synopsis. The comments mainly correspond to the “socio-economic” factors. The literature review has identified that they mostly refer to the influence of direct benefits for the local communities. Nevertheless, especially the comments in the first and third open questions (No. 6.19, 12.8) focus rather on energy security and energy prices. Thus, those factors would contribute to the social acceptance of a considerable share of the respondents. However, regarding the reactions (No. 11.8) about wind energy projects in the neighbourhood, they are more consistent to the synopsis since they want to be financially involved. It is striking that there is a high accordance in the “perceived impacts”, especially regarding the degradation of the environment and visibility. The literature mentions this as the second most frequently factor as well as it is expressed by a high share of the comments.
The results of the qualitative analysis differ significantly since they are almost not related to “procedural fairness”. These factors are merely expressed in total by four respondents. Additionally, it is astonishing that the most mentioned factor identified in the synopsis “taking stakeholders’ consultation seriously” is not explicitly expressed in the open questions. Instead of the “scale of participation”, the respondents consider the number of installed wind turbines as crucial. Consequently, the perception of the people is more influenced by the physical and technical characteristics of wind energy that interact with their everyday life.
On balance, the overall impression is that rather the discontented people tend to express additional statements or comments. As a consequence, the drawn attitude of these results must not correspond to the results of the frequency analysis.