Voluntary agreements and industry self-commitment

Service Unit Wind Energy and Quality label for project developers in Thuringia, in Germany

In 2015, the State Energy and GreenTech Agency of Thuringia established the Wind Energy Service Unit. This measure was partly motivated by the political will to restore trust in local wind energy projects, promoting fair planning and decision-making, and partly by the need of increasing the area where energy plants could be built (from 0.3% to 1% of the total state territory). The Service Unit provides free, comprehensive and neutral advisory and technical assistance services for citizens, municipalities and developers to improve the procedural and financial participation of citizens and support a balanced and environmentally sound expansion of wind energy. In 2016, the Service Unit started to award a quality label certificate for wind energy project developers committing themselves to adhere to a set of standards concerning quality, transparency and participation. The label was envisaged as an integral part of a comprehensive bundle of measures for local acceptance promotion, which seek to improve procedural and distributional justice and trust-building. According to some developers, though, the label was not enough promoted, its adoption is based only on voluntary agreements and its application is not sufficiently monitored. Overall, the label contributed to increase the transparency of planning processes, enhance the credibility of developers, and improve the procedural and financial participation of citizens and local communities. A more balanced distribution of costs and benefits of wind power was so achieved, which also resulted in local value creation.

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