Social Acceptance of Wind Power
The share of electricity generated from wind power has grown rapidly in recent decades, both in Europe and globally. Although wind power is a widely accepted form of energy production, local projects are increasingly facing opposition in Finland. In a project that ended in November 2018, Akordi developed new tools to strengthen the social acceptability and social license to operate of wind power in cooperation with wind industry actors and stakeholders.
Social acceptance is one of the production factors of wind power, along with good wind conditions, financing and functioning technology. For example, avoiding lengthy complaint loops saves not only time but also money – hence is it critical to understand and integrate elements of acceptability into the wind sector. Increased local opposition will have an impact not only on individual projects, but also on the energy revolution as a whole and the achievement of climate targets. As social acceptability is not only about individual projects, isolated remedial efforts such as communication, information and promotion of community benefits do not always work as expected. A more strategic approach to the social dimension of wind energy development is needed.
In 2017, Akordi launched a project to provide the wind sector and those working on wind-related issues with new skills for anticipating and addressing conflicts. The project consisted of three components:
1) A series of workshops entitled the “Acceptance Workshops”, which addressed challenges in the sector and developed new approaches to strengthen social acceptance
2) Piloting and learning from new approaches and tools, in particular the development of a social acceptability barometer for the sector; and
3) An International IEA Wind (Task 28 Social Acceptance of Wind Energy Projects) cooperation, in which Akordi participated as a representative of Finland.
The project ended with a seminar in November 2018 on the current issues of social acceptability of wind energy. Akordi compiled the lessons learned from the project into the report “Acceptance of Wind Energy: What Was Learned?” [In Finnish].