André Wüste, Peter Schmuck


Social acceptance of bioenergy use and success factors for communal bioenergy projects


This chapter deals with the analysis of the social acceptance for bioenergy resources and bioenergy utilisation. Three studies are reported: (1) Based on a quantitative study by using a standardised questionnaire, the attitudes of 800 inhabitants in the rural area of Germany and Austria concerning bioenergy were analysed. The main sample was collected in areas without bioenergy plants. Several smaller samples have been collected in areas where people are affected by special bioenergy utilisation concepts, for example short rotation forestry, bioenergy villages or industrial bioenergy plants producing bio fuels. 

(2) A second study, using questionnaire data of people in 13 villages considering a bioenergy project (n=2200), analyses the readiness of the villagers to support the project.

(3) Furthermore, a qualitative interview study analyses the success factors and impediments for the establishment of decentralised, communal bioenergy projects. The interviews were accomplished with initiators or participants in 25 bioenergy villages in Germany. In addition, this study focuses the changes of individual and social well-being during the process of planning a bioenergy village.

The intention for these studies is to get insight in the highly dynamic development of bioenergy production facilities in Germany, which not in all cases are in line with sustainability criteria: A growing number of people in the rural areas of Germany are affected directly or indirectly by the increasing development of bioenergy utilisation. In many cases, bioenergy plants are built mainly under economic aspects, without involving the local population and other stakeholders. Increasing fears caused by a lack of information to the local population often lead to conflicts, resistance and a declining acceptance with regard to bioenergy projects. The studies in this chapter are designed to shed light in potential avenues of sustainable bioenergy projects which are supported by the local population.


Keywords: acceptance, success factors, bioenergy village