Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 8, Issue 7, pp 2393–2412 | Cite as

Local Acceptance of Biogas Plants: A Comparative Study in the Trinational Upper Rhine Region

  • K. Schumacher
  • F. Schultmann
Original Paper


In the three countries bordering the Upper Rhine (Germany, France, Switzerland), the biogas sector has received strong political support as part of national strategies to increase the share of renewable energies. Because of the decentralized nature of biogas production and its potential positive and negative impacts on local communities, acceptance by local residents is a necessary precondition for the successful construction and operation of biogas plants. The present paper investigates local acceptance based on a cross-national questionnaire study of 667 residents living near 11 biogas plants in the 3 national sub-regions of the Upper Rhine. Using descriptive methods in combination with multiple regression analysis, factors influencing local acceptance of biogas plants are investigated. Results show significant differences regarding both acceptance levels and influencing factors across the sub-regions. It is concluded that the political and cultural context in which renewable energy projects are embedded are important determinants for local acceptance. Based on the empirical results, recommendations are derived with respect to suitable strategies to positively influence local acceptance.


Biogas Cross-national survey Local acceptance Participation 



The present work has been carried out in the context of the research project “OUI Biomasse—Innovations for a Sustainable Biomass Utilization in the Upper Rhine Region”, financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in collaboration with the cooperation program INTERREG “Oberrhein—Rhin Supérieur” and other national co-financiers. Our thanks also go to the interviewers for their commitment, to Carsten Sauer for his scientific support, Anja Barr for proofreading as well as to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Business Administration, Production and Operations ManagementKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), French-German Institute for Environmental Research (DFIU)KarlsruheGermany

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