WE Engage Tool launched to support onshore renewable energy developers
WISE Power - an EU-funded project - is launching an online tool for onshore wind farm developers and industry stakeholders to engage with local communities on permitting and planning of wind sites.
The Scottish Government is a partner in the WISE Power project, building on much of the work carried out in this field, promoting good practice in delivery of community benefits, available on the Local Energy Scotland website here.
The new project website - WE Engage - aims to foster public support for onshore wind power through information and advice to communities, Transmission System Operators, developers and local authorities.
The interactive platform creates a one-stop shop for information-sharing, which allows groups and individuals to have a say in the siting and expansion of wind projects. The online tool also includes a strong focus on innovative financing through cooperatives and crowdfunding.
The two-year WISE Power mission aims at increasing social acceptance in order to cut the average permitting time for a wind farm from 55 months to 24 months. The project spans 13 EU countries - Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK.
Jennifer Ramsay, Assistant Programme Manager at Local Energy Scotland, said: "The Scottish Government has been involved in the development of the WE Engage website, sharing experience and good practice of community engagement and benefits from a policy perspective.
She added: "We are very pleased to see the launch of the WE Engage tool. This is an innovative, interactive site which will add real, practical value for stakeholders seeking to design social engagement strategies for onshore wind projects. We hope that this will further promote the sharing of best practice across Europe, and ensure that renewable energy projects are exemplary in their local engagement processes."
The WE Engage tool was developed following extensive research including over 200 questionnaires from industry and public stakeholders across Europe.
Aitor Madariaga Carrero, Operation & Maintenance Environmental Manager at Acciona "As wind energy developers, we find WE Engage tool useful, especially because it provides a diverse set of best practices and case studies, which allows to develop practical and cost-effective solutions for local community engagement, based on previous successful experiences".
Oliver Frank, Head of Division Renewable Energy and Energy-Efficient Mobility at the German Energy Agency, said: "It is exciting for the German Energy Agency to see 'WE Engage' come online and to have worked on a tool that contributes to fostering social acceptance for wind energy projects across Europe. This online tool is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the WISE Power project partners and various stakeholders involved in wind energy projects."
The Scottish Government has been involved in the development of the WE Engage website, sharing experience and good practice of community engagement and benefits from a policy perspective.