Through research and spatial analysis, NINA aims to establish the groundwork for a future where wind energy development is integrated with environmental conservation efforts.

The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) is an independent research foundation with headquarters in Trondheim and departments in Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø, and Lillehammer. More than 350 employees work on nature-based solutions for a more sustainable future. The institute conducts research on nature and nature-society interactions and has a wide range of expertise within ecology, geography, and social sciences. In the WENDY project, the NINA team contributes with its interdisciplinary knowledge to model impacts from wind energy on biodiversity and environmental values.

“The WENDY project takes a holistic approach to wind energy, making it exciting to be part of this inter- and transdisciplinary consortium. Considering the large areas required for wind farms, we consider it vital that research develops methods that can be used in an early phase to evaluate impacts and inform decision makers,” says Roel May, senior research scientist at NINA.

The Team for Sustainable Wind Energy

In the WENDY project, a group of four individuals are involved. Roel May is a senior research scientist at NINA and work package leader in the WENDY project. He is actively involved in modelling of wind energy impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Additionally, Roel coordinates the work to assess the impact of the WENDY method on energy stewardship.

Another Researcher, Thomas Kvalnes, maps marine and terrestrial biodiversity, based on species occurrence data. Based on these maps he develops models to calculate the impact of offshore and onshore wind energy on biodiversity. Complementing their efforts is Frank Hanssen, a Senior Engineer responsible for the development of the spatial multi-criteria WENDY toolbox for consensus-based siting of wind energy infrastructure. Lastly, we meet Reto Spielhofer, the researcher developing a participatory tool to map ecosystem services, known as the utilitarian values of landscapes. The ecosystem service maps are then used to calculate the impact of wind energy on peoples’ perceived landscape values.

NINA to use WENDY Methods in Future Research

The NINA team working in the WENDY project is trained to think and work spatially. Thus, their methods result in maps and spatially explicit models, which foster the development of solutions for evaluating the impacts of wind farms during the planning phase. Spatially explicit assessments, processes, and solutions are key to foster energy stewardship and ultimately enhance acceptance for wind energy.

“The WENDY project furthers our portfolio on the interface of renewable energy with nature conservation internationally. Applying holistic and interdisciplinary approaches to tackle real-life challenges is also at the core of our applied profile,” says Roel May.

The methods, developed in the WENDY project and the gained knowledge will be used in other NINA relevant research projects and is aimed for use by decision makers. The mapping of biodiversity and ecosystem services will also be transferable to other important topics.

Specialising in market research, White Research is an important project partner and a driving force behind the WENDY project.

White Research is a research and consultancy firm serving a diverse of clientele from the public sector, private industry, academia, and civil society organisations. Based in Brussels and with a satellite office in Thessaloniki, White Research has a solid portfolio of 27 EU-funded projects under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. With extensive experience in the field, White Research possesses a wealth of research expertise and a maintains a vast network of 318 partners across Europe. Specialising in market research, White Research is working with the WENDY project to promote the uptake of wind farms.

Supporting pilot cases and local initiatives

With the dedicated team of Michail Ntovas and Anastasios Tsakas, White Research is strongly committed to the success of the WENDY project. Michail Ntovas leads White Research’s involvement in WENDY as Senior Project Manager, while Anastasios Tsakas provides critical day-to-day support as Associate Project Manager. Together they work closely with the WENDY pilot cases and champion initiatives to promote social acceptance and public participation in wind farm projects at both the pilot and EU levels.

“WENDY is a cornerstone in promoting wind energy through a comprehensive approach that fits seamlessly into the EU’s clean energy transition strategy,” says Michail Ntovas, Senior Project Manager at White Research. “Our collaboration with WENDY underscores our commitment to advancing clean energy solutions across Europe,” he continues.

Expertise in Social Sciences and Humanities

White Research’s expertise in the social sciences and humanities is crucial to driving the project forward. Through insightful research, White Research has shed light on the factors influencing the uptake of wind energy and identified key motivators and barriers through interviews with industry stakeholders and crowdsourcing surveys. At the heart of White Research’s involvement with WENDY is an unwavering commitment to realising a sustainable energy future for generations to come.

Envisioning Change in the Energy Sector

The WENDY project holds great promise for both our organisation, White Research, and the broader community. “We expect a significant expansion of our research capabilities and networking opportunities, which will further cement our position as a leading consultancy in the European landscape”, says Ntovas. In addition, the project provides a platform to showcase their expertise in the social sciences and humanities, particularly in promoting social acceptance and public participation in wind energy projects. Beyond their organisation, they envision that the WENDY project will bring about change in the energy sector and promote awareness and acceptance of wind energy solutions. “Ultimately, we want WENDY to make an important contribution to the transition to clean energy in the EU and pave the way for a sustainable and greener future,” Ntovas concludes.

 

The WENDY project invites all Wind energy stakeholders or enthusiasts to join the WENDY Network of Interest (NoI). This is collaborative platform where stakeholders, experts, and passionate individuals in the wind energy sector can come together to share insights, exchange ideas, and collaboratively impact the WENDY project’s activities and the advancement of WENDY wind energy tools and practices.  

Members of the Network of Interest (NoI) will act as advisors on matters related, among others, to participatory processes employed in wind farms, social innovation, and financing schemes, as well as means to de-risk investments in community wind energy projects, said Evangelos Genitsaris, Research and Innovation Consultant at Q-Plan International.

The members will have the opportunity to engage with the WENDY hubs’ communities in Italy, Spain, Norway, and Greece. These hubs are like innovative, “democratic” forums where local stakeholders can share knowledge. They empower people to find solutions that benefit both local communities and the renewable energy industry.

Benefits from joining the WENDY Network of Interest:

  • Access to special knowledge-sharing events.
  • Invaluable insights from the WENDY project.
  • Gain experience with tools applied in real-world scenarios.
  • A unique advisory role.
  • The opportunity to participate in interactive discussions.
  • Showcase best practices, wind farm cases, initiatives, and ideas.
  • Networking opportunities and meaningful connections with a diverse community of dedicated professionals and individuals.
  • Visibility and recognition within their wind energy community for their contributions.

The NoI members may represent (but is not limited to) wind energy experts, wind energy industries, wind energy investors, policy makers, energy community members, energy consultants, civil organisations, researchers, citizens, and NGOs.

More information about the Network of Interest and the members’ anticipated role can be found here. Interested individuals can sign up electronically for free membership here. Participation is optional, and members decide how much time they want to commit. Similarly, the nature of involvement can be tailored to the preferences of each individual. There’s no obligation to stay, and members can leave the network whenever they wish.

Read the full press release here.

The consortium of the WENDY project is proud to announce the launch of its Knowledge Exchange Platform (KEP). KEP represents a significant milestone in our project journey towards enhancing energy stewardship and energy acceptance by addressing and leveraging three main dimensions: environmental sciences, social sciences and humanities, and technology engineering.

The platform is designed to foster knowledge sharing and facilitate collaboration within the wind energy community. It serves as a digital space where wind energy stakeholders, experts, as well as any other wind energy enthusiasts, such as residents, can connect, interact, share knowledge, and access valuable information resources.  

“From sharing good examples of wind farm cases and practices to engaging in thematic discussions and accessing the forthcoming WENDY tools, KEP provides a dynamic environment for mutual learning and community growth,” said Evangelos Genitsaris, Research and Innovation Consultant at Q-Plan International.

Key features:

Key sections, elements, and functionalities of the Knowledge Exchange Platform include:

    • Map of Lighthouse Wind Farms: This section acts as an observatory of lighthouse wind farms across the EU, based on several aspects related to the wind farms’ social acceptance.
    • Local Knowledge Hubs: These represent an innovative democratic forum and knowledge-sharing inclusive environment applied at the pilot and local levels.
    • Interactive Forum: Here, wind energy enthusiasts can engage with each other and with WENDY partners, ask questions, and participate in various discussions.
    • Knowledge Repository: This comprises a resource library providing access to a wide range of materials, including reports, papers, case studies, and tools.
    • Network of Interest: This is a community of experts, industry professionals, researchers, policymakers, and other wind energy enthusiasts.
    • WENDY Toolkit: This section serves as an online repository for all tools generated throughout the project.

Overall, the WENDY Knowledge Exchange Platform provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to stay updated and informed on wind energy topics, gain insights, network, and be inspired. The platform is gradually evolving and being enriched by the contributions of our consortium and the wider community.

WENDY Calls for Collaboration and Engagement

Through knowledge sharing and collaboration, we can accelerate the transition to a future of enhanced energy stewardship, with wind energy initiatives that are socially accepted and embraced by local communities. We invite you to join us in shaping the future of wind energy by visiting and using the WENDY – Knowledge Exchange Platform (at wendy-kep.eu).

Read the full press release here.

You can find more press resources here.

 

The WENDY project recently concluded an online Steering Committee meeting 20 February 2024. The meeting marked another step forward in the project’s mission to unravel the factors driving social acceptance of wind farms.

“I am thrilled with the progress made so far in the project. The WENDY project is actively promoting social acceptance through a multidimensional approach,” said Jonatan Peris Rivas, Project Manager at Fundacion CIRCE.

Throughout the virtual session, the team conducted a comprehensive review of progress across work packages, emphasising multiple dimensions: social sciences and humanities, environmental sciences, and technological engineering.

The project partners are pleased to report that all initiatives are on track, with significant progress made in key areas.

WENDY is dedicated to conducting an in-depth analysis of the factors influencing social acceptance of wind farms. The project’s approach encompasses three critical dimensions: social sciences and humanities, environmental sciences, and technological engineering. By implementing a series of local actions, WENDY aims to promote the wider adoption of project solutions. This includes the creation of guidelines, reports, and handbooks, fostering a deeper understanding of decision-making processes related to wind farms and encouraging energy stewardship.

Download the press release here.

Founded in 1993, CIRCE is a key player in sustainable development and leads the WENDY project with a skilled and diverse team dedicated to innovative solutions for renewable energy development.

-We work towards improving enterprise competitiveness through technology transfer via R&D (research and development) activities and market-oriented training in resource sustainability, effectiveness, energy grids, and renewable energies, says Jonatan Peris Rivas, Project Manager at Fundacion CIRCE.

CIRCE, as the coordinator of the WENDY project, plays a role in wind characterisation, curtailment evaluation criteria, and sM-V.KPI application.

Dedicated Team

Eight individuals from CIRCE are working on the WENDY project, focusing on enhancing the social acceptability of wind energy. Key people include:

  • Ana Talayero & Sonia de Uña: Leading holistic impact assessments on wind installations’ environmental and community effects.
  • Hector Leiva: Researching mitigation solutions and compensation strategies for CO2 footprints.
  • Jonatan Peris Rivas: Serving as WENDY Coordinator and Project Manager, overseeing technical and financial execution.

Wind Power Expertise

With over two decades of experience, CIRCE has great experience in wind energy, contributing significantly to the technical, financial, social, and environmental aspects of the sector. Their extensive involvement spans the entire value chain, from site assessment to the ongoing operation and servicing of 450 wind farms globally. As a trusted partner for major wind energy firms, CIRCE’s commitment to research, development, and innovation is evident in their participation in global projects, seeking innovative solutions for the future.

Strategic Alignment

CIRCE’s involvement in the WENDY project stems from its dedication to overcoming challenges in wind energy, particularly addressing issues related to public acceptance. Recognising the complexities of social, environmental, and technical factors, CIRCE aims to enhance the overall acceptability of wind power. Specifically, the organisation will contribute models for wind resource characterisation and micro-siting evaluation, aligning with its philosophy of seeking innovative solutions for the sector.

Catalyst for Change

Guided by CIRCE, WENDY is more than a project—it’s a catalyst for transitioning from ‘NIMBY’ (Not In My Backyard) to ‘PIMBY’ (Please In My Backyard), fostering cooperation between communities and renewable energy. The expected impacts span scientific advancements, societal transformations, economic benefits, technological innovations, and environmental considerations. WENDY aims to increase social acceptability by addressing multiple factors at social, environmental, and technical levels.

Jonatan Peris Rivas.

Envisioned outcomes include the standardisation of consenting procedures, improved policies, and replication of successful activities in at least 12 new regions. The project’s multidisciplinary approach will impact citizens, legislators, and the European Union, contributing to better understanding social acceptance and enhancing competitiveness through technology transfer.

-WENDY is not just about wind energy; it’s about nurturing a new era of cooperation between communities and renewable energy, says Jonatan Peris Rivas.

Read more about Fundacion CIRCE here.

The acronym NIMBY refers to the English phrase “Not in my backyard” and it is defined in The Oxford English Dictionary as: “an attitude attributed to people who object to the siting of something they consider harmful or dangerous in their own neighbourhood, while implicitly not objecting to similar developments elsewhere[1].

Not only do wind farm projects not escape this definition, but they are also projects where public opinion is in favour of sustainable power generation, yet local communities are often opposed to such developments. This is due to the fear of potential negative impacts they may have on the local community and rights-holders. Such concerns are generally referred to as health concerns, potential negative landscape and environmental risks, land value and impact on tourism and economic activity in general.

WIMBY, WENDY and JustWind4All are all European projects that aim to change the social perception of onshore and offshore wind energy projects by investigating the drivers and barriers to social acceptance, so that wind energy gains significantly more public attention and support from the broad society. They also aim to accelerate the development of onshore and offshore wind energy through fair and effective governance. By creating synergies between the 3 projects, the hope is to increase the impact and the outreach of the high-quality tools and knowledge under development.


[1] https://languages.oup.com/

A collection of shared thoughts from three Horizon Europe projects – WENDY, JustWind4All, and WIMBY

WIMBY

WIMBY (Wind In My BackYard) emerges as an European-funded initiative dedicated to fostering the adoption and acceptance of wind power within the European Union. Positioned at the intersection of technological innovation, societal engagement, and environmental impact assessment, WIMBY aims to change the narrative surrounding wind energy deployment.

WIMBY’s goal is to develop innovative tools facilitating citizen and stakeholder interaction, knowledge sharing, and collaborative evaluation of impacts, conflicts, synergies, and social innovation potential related to wind power. The project aligns with the broader EU decarbonisation strategy, seeking to increase the use of wind power as a sustainable and cost-effective renewable energy source.

The primary goal of WIMBY is to address and mitigate the NIMBY effect, a phenomenon where local communities resist new developments that they fear might negatively impact their surroundings. The NIMBY effect represents a significant barrier to the widespread deployment of wind power, despite its potential to combat climate change. WIMBY seeks to bridge this gap by providing practical information for stakeholders and citizens, fostering participatory decision-making processes, developing strategies that consider trade-offs and synergies, finally supporting a just transition involving the whole society in shaping our common future energy landscape.

WIMBY employs innovative models to assess the impacts and potential conflicts emerging from new wind power development. The project also develops guidelines to increase public engagement, transforming complex data into comprehensible information. These results are shared through open-access repositories and social media, promoting transparency and accessibility.

Central to the project approach is the development of a Web-GIS interactive platform. This platform enhances the accessibility and usability of information, facilitating knowledge exchange among stakeholders. It enables the early engagement of local communities and multi-disciplinary experts in the planning of new wind farm deployments, bringing different perspectives and impact mitigation options into discussion. To conduct transparent and transdisciplinary research, WIMBY has assembled a diverse team of experts, including renewable energy scientists, behavioral economists, ecologists, planners, engineers, lawyers, physicists, and more. The project’s collaborative approach ensures a holistic understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with wind energy. This multilevel study unfolds through four pilot cases, where concerns and impacts from social, health, and environmental perspectives are identified and assessed. Through its multifaceted approach, WIMBY endeavors to dismantle barriers, foster informed decision-making, and contribute to the broader mission of a sustainable future.


WENDY

The WENDY project aims at unravelling the factors triggering social acceptance of wind farms through an in-depth analysis at three dimensions: social sciences and humanities, environmental sciences, and technological engineering. The main objective of WENDY is to trigger a societal perception change towards onshore and offshore wind energy and boost the understanding of wind farms decision making processes while enhancing energy citizenship.

The WENDY project has 10 wind farm use cases from 4 different countries: Italy, Spain, Norway, and Greece, through which the solutions and tools developed will be validated. These cases have been selected considering several characteristics such as geography, maturity, type of wind energy and coexistence with other activities.

Although all WENDY tasks are directly or indirectly related to the study of social acceptance factors for wind energy, the project includes specific activities dedicated to the study of this topic, such as the investigation to establish the basis of the current barriers, challenges and needs for increasing the acceptance of wind energy both at the European level and at the level of use cases, among many others.

The WENDY project will also develop several functional applications and materials (guidelines, handbooks, knowledge hubs, an exchange platform and finally the WENDY toolbox) to facilitate the exchange of knowledge between decision makers and key stakeholders, involving citizens, local authorities, business owners and relevant actors of the wind energy value chain.

The WENDY toolbox is a spatial Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis toolbox that will integrate participatory approaches and will be able to identify the optimal turbines’ sitting with the minimum environmental impact and highest social acceptance likelihood.

In this way, WENDY will help to increase social acceptability of wind energy at local communities by changing the NIMBY attitude to a more sustainable and encouraging principle called PIMBY, or “Please, in my backyard”.


JustWind4All

JustWind4All’s overall aim is to support the acceleration of on- and offshore wind energy through just and effective governance. They are undertaking a comprehensive analysis of how different actors are coordinating their actions around wind energy development in regions across Europe, and how this translates (or not) into effective and just processes and outcomes.

While prevalent concepts like NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) and social acceptance have traditionally dominated discourse in wind energy research, they often oversimplify the multifaceted roles that the public assumes in the development of wind energy projects.

JustWind4All contextualises its research more broadly, considering instead both relational and systemic perspectives on participatory practices for allowing to capture a whole variety of different forms of participation and their relations with one another. By emphasizing energy citizenship, the project challenges the passive stance associated with social acceptance, where individuals are constrained to either accept or reject offerings without creative agency to support, resist, amend, subvert, or co-develop, to just name a few ways of how the public engages. In addition, transitions are influenced by many different actors in many different ways – thus JW4A research focuses on diverse actor’s roles, practices and interests – including citizens, but also developers, local and national governments and others. It studies their participatory practices and governance arrangements and processes.

JustWind4All explores participation in several research endeavors. The database of participatory practices and social innovations, in the context of onshore and offshore wind energy developments identifies a set of good participatory practices, while also highlighting examples of social innovation initiatives. The emergence and development of participatory practices in different environments is explored through regional case studies of wind energy governance, resulting in sets of recommendations for fostering energy citizenship. Lastly, through co-production activities with wind energy actors In Wind Labs, JustWind4All can explore first-hand how different actors participate and collaborate in a variety of wind energy contexts!


Join the Wind Revolution: Follow, Engage, and Act!

As WIMBY, JustWind4All, and WENDY are collectively working on a transformative journey towards sustainable wind energy adoption, we invite you to become an integral part of this movement. Stay connected with us on social media platforms, where we share the latest updates, insights, and impactful stories. Subscribe to our newsletters for in-depth information, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and exclusive content.

By following our projects, you actively contribute to the discourse around wind energy acceptance, enabling a future powered by clean, renewable sources. Together, we can break down barriers and foster understanding.

Keep an eye out for upcoming activities— workshops, events, surveys —where your participation can make the difference.

In synergistic collaboration, this article has been made possible through the active participation of three EU-funded projects: WENDY-101084137, WIMBY-101083460, JUSTWIND4ALL-101083936.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

Download the article here.

In Šibenik, Croatia, the global assembly convened for the Conference on Wind Energy and Wildlife Impacts (CWW). Among the esteemed presenters were members of the WENDY team, who showcased their research and methodologies, garnering attention from an audience of researchers, industry professionals, policymakers, and representatives of NGOs.

The overarching theme of this year’s CWW was the nature-inclusive upscaling of wind energy, fostering discussions on how to achieve climate targets by increasing the use of wind energy while preserving biodiversity. The WENDY team seized the opportunity to share insights and present research aimed at addressing the challenges at the intersection of wind energy development and wildlife preservation.

Vision for Holistic Development

Roel May, Senior Research Scientist at NINA and a member of the WENDY team, took the stage to present a transdisciplinary framework for holistic wind energy development through energy stewardship. He highlighted that the successful uptake and upscaling of wind energy require not only technological advancements but also societal support and acceptance of the socio-ecological aspects of wind farm siting. The energy stewardship concept aims to build social relational values and connectedness with the development process, supporting the sustainable development of wind energy.

Roel co-delivered the conference’s opening keynote, establishing the thematic groundwork for ensuing discussions. Additionally, he co-hosted a workshop focusing on the challenges of addressing uncertainty in impact assessments. These contributions underscored the WENDY project’s dedication to advancing collaborative knowledge exchange within the wind energy community.

LCIA Method for Assessing Impact on Marine Mammals

Thomas Kvalnes, another WENDY team member from NINA, contributed to the conference by introducing a recently developed life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) method. This method is designed to investigate the impacts of offshore wind-power farms on marine mammals during the operational phase. By developing impact pathways for habitat loss and disturbance, Kvalnes’s work provided a spatially explicit framework for evaluating biodiversity consequences and informed decision-makers about potential novel sites for offshore wind farms. Impact pathways for habitat loss and disturbance are developed to characterise the potentially disappeared fraction of species for recently constructed and planned offshore wind farms.

ConSite Wind: A Tool for Informed Decision-Making

Frank Hanssen presented an overview of the ConSite Wind web-app developed by NINA, aiming to inform the balancing of socio-ecological and economic trade-offs in spatial planning of wind power projects. The web-app predicts and visualises spatial consequences of different wind power decision scenarios and enables developers, authorities, and the public to make more informed and transparent decisions for future wind power developments.

Members of the WENDY team were also co-authors on several other presentations and posters at the conference. The abstracts for all presentations can be found on the CWW website.

The WENDY team convened in Zaragoza on November 14-15 for its 4th Steering Committee Meeting, an occasion that underscored the collective dedication and achievements of its diverse consortium of partners.

“It was great hosting all the WENDY partners at CIRCE’s offices in Zaragoza. The first year has gone by very fast, and I would like to applaud the team’s relentless commitment to meeting deadlines and delivering on our promises,” said Jonatan Peris Rivas, Project Manager at Fundacion CIRCE.

The agenda of the Steering Committee Meeting focused on important WENDY issues, including the social acceptance of wind energy and strategies for minimising environmental impact, with a particular emphasis on bird and bat detection.

During the second day of the meeting, the WENDY consortium visited the TICO wind farm, a project with 43 turbines and 180 MW installed power, owned by EGP. Ana and Sonia from EGP provided invaluable insights into the operational aspects of the wind farm. The site visit included a detailed exploration of the pioneering efforts in birdlife detection and protection, elucidated by experts from Konica Minolta at the facilities nearest to the station.

As WENDY marks this milestone with its 4th Steering Committee Meeting, consisting of 2 online sessions and 2 in-person gatherings, the project remains steadfast in its mission to create a sustainable and socially accepted wind energy future.

Read the full press release here.

In an era of increasing environmental awareness and the drive towards sustainable living, a new concept is gaining momentum on the energy landscape — energy communities. These collaborative initiatives are changing the way we think about energy production, consumption, and ownership, fostering a sense of local empowerment and contributing to the broader transition towards cleaner, more resilient energy systems.