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Germans 'fine with having wind farms as their neighbours'

Greenpeace Energy study shows overwhelming majority ‘not at all’ or ‘hardly’ disturbed by wind farms

An overwhelming majority of people living close to wind farms in Germany do not feel disturbed by turbines – contrary to claims by anti-wind groups, a new study commissioned by developer Greenpeace Energy found.

Of just over 1,000 people polled by surveying institute Kantar at the end of August, 47% said they are ‘not disturbed’ at all by wind turbines, while another 38% said they felt ‘hardly disturbed.’ A third of those polled live close to wind farms or turbines.

Only a small minority of 9% of people surveyed said they felt ‘very disturbed’ and another 4% said they are ‘quite disturbed’ by wind power.

Greenpeace Energy published the results as energy minister Peter Altmaier on Thursday holds a crisis summit to find ways out of a current near-collapse of onshore wind installations on land across Germany.

Along with representatives of the wind industry, Altmaier has also invited anti-wind groups to the meeting, arguing ways need to be found to increase the acceptance of wind power among the population.

German wind sector anxious ahead of crisis summit with Altmaier

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“People on the ground accept wind energy much more clearly than the public debate is feigning,” said Sönke Tangermann, board member at Greenpeace Energy.

“Approval is particularly high exactly where people live with an above average number of wind turbines. In northwestern German states with their very high degree of wind energy penetration, 98% of those polled actually said that machines in their vicinity are ‘hardly’ or ‘not at all disturbing’.”

To increase acceptance, 79% of residents wish to be more closely involved during the planning of wind energy projects, and receive inexpensive power from the machines. Another 64% reckon that sharing profits of wind parks fosters acceptance, Greenpeace Energy stressed.

The expansion of wind power on land has plunged in Germany, amid a permitting malaise that in part is due to lengthy legal cases brought forward by anti-wind groups.

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