Wind Energy: Silver Bullet or Conflict Resource?

Authors: Janpeter Schilling*, University of Koblenz-Landau
Topics: Energy, Environment, Development
Keywords: wind, energy, conflict, protest, NIMBY, Kenya, Germany
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Galerie 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Wind energy is a key technology in efforts to decarbonize the global energy system. Sometimes wind energy is even seen as a silver bullet that solves all problems without creating new ones. The presentation challenges this belief. Based on case studies from Kenya and Germany, the presentation explores the conflict potential of wind parks. A particular focus is placed on local communities and the question why they do or do not oppose wind parks.
In northern Kenya, the largest wind park on the African continent has recently been completed. 365 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kW, have been erected to produce green energy for the country. During the construction of the park, the village of Sarima was relocated. The population of Sarima has benefited from the project in terms of water provision but grievances have grown during the compensation for lost land.
In Germany, compensation for land used by wind farms is less of an issue. Here local communities rather oppose new wind farms because of potential visual impacts on the surrounding landscape and population, decreasing property prices, and effects on birds.
The presented research is based on qualitative field research conducted in Kenya and Germany in 2017 and 2018. A comparative framework is applied to explore the motives of local communities.
Preliminary results show that while the contexts in Kenya and Germany are very different, some similarities can be identified. In both cases communication between the project implementer and the local population plays a key role.

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