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Clean Power

Published on July 29th, 2011 | by John Farrell

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Local Ownership Means Local Love for Wind Power

July 29th, 2011 by  


A new article in the journal Energy Policy supports the notion that local ownership is key to overcoming local resistance to renewable energy.  The article summarizes a survey conducted of two towns in Germany, both with local wind projects, but only one that was locally owned.  The results are summarized in this chart:

Guess which town has the locally owned project?

If you guessed Zschadraß, you win.  With local ownership of the wind project, 45% of residents had a positive view toward more wind energy.  In the town with an absentee-owned project (Nossen), only 16% of residents had a positive view of expanding wind power; a majority had a negative view.

Ownership matters, an important consideration given the increasing local resistance to wind power projects and the way in which U.S. renewable energy policy typically makes local ownership more difficult.  For more on the value of ownership, see How Community Ownership Can Save Wind Power.

This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project.





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About the Author

directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at jfarrell@ilsr.org.



  • Puhleeze. Zschadraß has 3 fairly small 500-kW turbines and 1 large 2-MW turbine. In contrast, Nossen has 2 600-kW, 2 660-kW, 5 1-MW, 5 1.65 MW, and 5 2-MW turbines, according to thewindpower.net. These very different facilities would obviously have very different impacts which would account for the different public attitudes.

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