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Energy Conflicts

Energy Conflicts

Speaker: Fritz Reusswig

Team members: Eva EichenauerWiebke Lass

This project is part of the German research ministries' programme 'Social-Ecological Research' (BMBF SOEF) and runs from October 2013 until September 2016. PIK is leading a research consortium with University of Potsdam (Faculty of Economics & Social Sciences), University of Kiel (Faculty of Philosophy), and the Institute for Space & Energy (Wedel). The project wants to identify the reasons of opposition and protest against renewable energy projects and instruments of the German 'Energiewende', namely: on-shore wind, PV power stations, grid extension, and the German feed-in tariff system (EEG). According to a widespread interpretation, people support the renewable energy transition in general, but oppose it as soon as their own property is adversely affected (NIMBY).  While this pattern does occur, it is by far not the only one. Case-based evidence reveals that people oppose concrete projects for a number of reasons: nature conservation, the perceived threat to the beauty of landscapes, lack of participation during the planning process, lack of economic benefit sharing, assumed inefficiencies of instruments etc. The project wants to (1) empirically identify the reasons for opposition and protest in order to determine the relevance of NIMBY, (2) to assess the ethical foundations and validity of counter-arguments, (3) identify conditions under which opposition and protest could be modified into support or acceptance, (4) assess the lifestyles and carbon footprints of different opposition groups, and (5) give policy advice in terms of improved planning, participation, and communication processes for projects of the German 'Energiewende'.

The methods applied include: (1) document analysis (websites, leaflets etc.), (2) qualitative and expert interviews, (3) household surveys, (4) interactive planning games. The project is focussing on three regions in Germany: (1) Schleswig-Holstein, (2) Brandenburg-Berlin, (3) Baden-Württemberg. PIK is coordinating the research project, and has a special focus on argument analysis and lifestyle research.

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