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Public Acceptance of Renewable Energy - A series of workshops in Germany

About this project

The acceptance and support of the broader public are fundamental preconditions for further increasing the share of renewable energies in Germany. A lack of such support might for example lead to a slowing down of the planning and permitting processes for renewable energy installations, due to time consuming participation processes and stakeholder consultations. Moreover, support from local authorities depends largely on the dedication and commitment of local players.

In this project Ecologic and the Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT) investigated the acceptance of renewable energies in Germany. While the IZT focused on the local level, Ecologic paid particular attention to the regional level. Ecologic hosted five future labs (or “future search”) from July to December 2006 to openly discuss and debate the issue with representatives from local authorities, NGOs, business and other stakeholders.

Two of the workshops examined the usage of wind energy, two focused on the usage of bioenergy and one discussed open space-photovoltaics. The chosen regions all offered a high potential for the specific energy source. For the analysis of biomass, the regions Lausitz and Wendland were selected. The sustainable extension of onshore wind energy was discussed in the region Braunschweiger Land. The development of offshore wind parks was the focus at the workshop held near Sylt. The workshop on open space-photovoltaics was held in Leipzig.

The aim of the project was to identify and investigate resistance to renewable energies and to jointly elaborate policy recommendations on how to increase public acceptance of and support for renewable energies.

Further information about the project is available here.


Methodology "Future Workshops"

“Future labs” are a methodology for problem solving and way of participation that focuses on visionary team work. It offers a forum to develop possible and also temporarily not possible future perspectives and checks their chances of realisation. The “Future labs” (or „future search“) runs in three steps:

  • the criticising phase, to critically analyse the problems,
  • the imagination phase, to create a pool of wishes and collect ideas,
  • the phase of realisation to check the chances of realising the collected ideas and to develop concrete steps of action.

Along with these steps, it is also the goal to activate the participants’ creativity to come up with innovative ideas. The process of self-development of solutions creates identification with the subject and later the realisation of projects. With that, this method additionally causes the affected participants to develop acceptance and motivation.



The project is financed by the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and part of a consortium including Institute of Local Government Studies at the University of Potsdam (KWI), Institute for Resource Conservation, Innovation and Sustainability (IRIS) e.V. at the FHW Berlin, lead by the Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT) and the University of Magdeburg (Department Environmental Psychology) and The Center for Technology and Society.

More information, including reports about the events are available on the German version of this website.

Further information about the project is available here.


Ecologic organisiert diese Veranstaltungsreihe mit Unterstützung durch das Bundesministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit

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