Local Acceptance of Biogas Plants: A Comparative Study in the Trinational Upper Rhine Region
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- Schumacher, K. & Schultmann, F. Waste Biomass Valor (2017). doi:10.1007/s12649-016-9802-z
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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.