The best practices of Tula, in Sardinia, Italy, and Birkenes in Norway are two useful examples of how ensuring distributional justice within wind energy projects can improve social acceptance.
Tax cut and landscape commitments in Tula
Although the construction of the wind park of Sa Turrina Manna within the territory of Tula municipality proceeded quite smoothly, a subsequent expansion was strongly opposed by the local people.
Concerns were expressed about visual impacts and the distribution of benefits. The developer, the local authority and the community highly successfully overcame the barriers, by adopting a participatory approach.
To allow the municipality and individuals to share in the financial benefit, 2% of the gross revenue of the wind farm is now given to Tula municipality. The municipality also consulted its citizens to decide how this income from the farm would be used to benefit the community. Most notably this resulted in municipal tax reductions for 1600 households, including the elimination of the personal income and real estate taxes. The municipality also invested towards enhancing the quality of life, in family friendly policies and education: a total of 400,000 euros were invested in education (i.e. grants for all level students, funding environmental and sport activities within schools); support to families (birth incentives), housing tax (i.e. abolition of the tax on the first house from 2012); waste tax (i.e. 50 euros bonus for supporting each family in paying this tax); public facilities and infrastructures (i.e. renovation of public sport facilities and sidewalks/cycling paths); energy efficiency (i.e. renovation of schools and public buildings).
Birkenes Innovation House
Before being granted authorization, the municipality of Birkenes and the wind farm developer established a voluntary agreement “to facilitate for cooperation, involvement, and consider local societal interests”.
As part of the agreement the developer offered to build a new facility for the Birkenes municipality, the “Innovation House”, a special place for youths and citizens to increase knowledge and interest in renewable energy. The motivation behind this idea is to involve local residents in the wind power park project, while raising climate mitigation awareness. Moreover the realization of the facility has seen the involvement of local businesses (e.g. timber and fibre glass businesses) with further positive effects on the local economy.
Such effects can be considered as conducive to some distributional justice, since the community is to share the benefits of the initiative.
Find out more
Here below further readings on the concept idea of the two best practices and some detailed analysis.
Synthesis and Comparative Analysis of Best Practice Case Studies for Promoting the Social Acceptance pages 60-62
Analysis of distributional justice within Best Practice of Tula
Synthesis and Comparative Analysis of Best Practice Case Studies for Promoting the Social Acceptance pages 122-132
Analysis of distributional justice within Best Practice of Birkenes
Synthesis and Comparative Analysis of Best Practice Case Studies for Promoting the Social Acceptance pages 148-160