WIMBY: Engaging communities for the acceptance and adoption of wind energy in the EU

The Horizon Europe project, started in early 2023 will develop innovative tools to facilitate citizens and stakeholders’ interaction, in particular knowledge sharing, collaborative evaluation of impacts, controversies and social innovation potential of new onshore and offshore wind power deployments.

 

Brussels 29/05/2023

The WIMBY project – Wind In My BackYard: Using holistic modelling tools to advance social awareness and engagement on large wind power installations in the EU – is a Horizon Europe initiative started in January 2023 that aims at developing holistic modelling tools to advance social awareness and engagement on large wind power installations in the EU. During the next three years, WIMBY researchers will cooperate to develop a new set of tools that will promote the direct engagement of local communities in the planning, implementation, and longstanding coexistence with wind farms. WIMBY can pave the way for a greener and more sustainable future by facilitating the acceptance of wind farms that are both widely embraced by the public and economically viable, while acknowledging and addressing the concerns of local communities and considering ecological aspects.

 

Promoting collaboration for truly sustainable wind power development

Although wind power is considered among the most promising solutions to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate Climate Change, it has also met resistance from restrictive regulations and local communities. The WIMBY project addresses these challenges by actively involving citizens and stakeholders in the whole process of development, collecting their concerns and feedback. To promote open and transparent communication, WIMBY Consortium has engaged a multidisciplinary team that will co-develop a series of interactive engagement tools that can be used by anyone, both expert and non-experts, facilitating widespread participation in the different phases of the project. The tools will include a Web-GIS platform, a 3D immersive environment and an open discussion forum, enabling users to exchange opinions and make informed decisions.

The project will collect real-world data on four pilot sites located in Austria, Italy, Norway and Portugal, and directly engage local communities to identify the factors influencing the public attitude towards wind power and its applications. The selected pilot cases cover a wide range of geographical, technological, cross-societal and ecological characteristics that ensure that the developed tools are relevant and useful both to wind power developers and to citizens, promoting a just transition towards future energy citizenship.

Project scientific coordinator – Luis Ramirez Camargo (Utrecht University): Wind power should be being deployed at a way faster pace if we want to reach global climate protection goals. The technology has matured considerably in the last decades, we know how to mitigate potential negative impacts and would profit substantially from the positive impacts. We, however, still need to develop awareness and social engagement to strengthen a transition that puts wind deployment at the top of the agenda of governments, enterprises, communities, and citizens. In WIMBY we will gather all the knowledge and experience of the consortium in tools co-developed with stakeholders, which should help us to contribute to that transition.

 

Partners and goals

The WIMBY Consortium’s 16 European partners will share their multidisciplinary expertise to address all the points that come into play in the development of wind energy: studies of the territory, both with regard to impacts on biodiversity, landscape and communities; technical studies for the development of the most suitable and user-friendly tools; citizen science and social research methodologies to develop best practices to involve local stakeholders in decision-making processes.

WIMBY is a project that puts the needs of citizens and communities at its centre, striving to find the best compromises and tools to break down the barriers against the development of wind energy and contribute to the joint action to decarbonise the European Union. All European citizens are invited to follow the project and be an active part of the research, by reading the most recent updates and achievements on the official website and main social media.

 

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