The Drenthe Energy Story: residents have their say

Opinions of residents form part of the Regional Energy Strategy

Work together well, put the interests of Drenthe first, fit energy projects as well as possible into the landscape, involve residents in the plans from the outset, let the profits from energy generation go to residents and not just to large developers and stimulate local initiatives. These are the recommendations by residents of Drenthe, which are included in the 'Drenthe Energy Story'. The recommendations have been included in the Regional Energy Strategy 1.0 of Drenthe. Perspectivity facilitated the process.

The energy transition and the RES

To prevent the earth from warming up by more than two degrees, the Netherlands has agreed in the Klimaatakkoord (Climate Accord) to greatly reduce CO2 emissions. One of the measures is that by 2030 electricity from solar and wind power for about 10 million households will be generated. This is a major task that all Dutch people will have to deal with sooner or later. The Netherlands consists of thirty energy regions, each of which has a Regional Energy Strategy (RES) on how to generate energy from sun and wind in their region.

Drenthe is one of these energy regions. The municipalities, water boards, province of Drenthe and social partners together form the Drenthe Energy Table. To gain insight in what inhabitants think is the best way for Drenthe, they asked Perspectivity to design a participatory process.

Population survey

How does the population of Drenthe think about solar and wind power in the region Drenthe? What do they see happening around them? How do they experience this? What are their worries, now and for the future? To gain answers to these questions, a population survey was started, using the Sprockler tool, a research method to collect, interpret and visualise stories and data. Together with civil servants from several municipalities, province, and water boards and social actors, a survey was developed and tested with different residents.

A good cross-section of Drenthe society was actively sought: both men and women, people from various age categories, people with lower and higher incomes. 24,000 addresses were randomly selected and received an invitation to participate in the study. More than 400 residents participated. To ensure a representative picture of Drenthe, young people and people with an income below average were approached again.

The stories and responses can be read here.

“In Drenthe, we often hear serious stories about wind power parks that came into existence through national decrees. We wanted to know: does everyone look at this in the same way? What sentiments around solar and wind power exist? Are there frustrations or also opportunities? This resulted in beautiful, and also nuanced, stories.”
Mariëlle Zijlstra, project leader communication and participation

Reflection session for the common thread

After collecting the stories, a group of inhabitants and staff of RES partners went to work with interpreting the results during a reflective writeshop. These sessions resulted in the identification of five important themes. Themes that show clear worries about the climate on the one side and worries about the implications for the Drenthe landscape and nature on the other side.

The themes and beautiful stories can be read in the e-magazine.

Pop-up Drenthe Energy Tables

On the basis of the stories and identified themes, advice on solar and wind energy in Drenthe was drawn up during online sessions with several of the storytellers. The plan was to do this as a citizens' assembly in a large sports hall full of people, but due to the corona pandemic the plans had to be changed. So, it became two online meetings, which were part of a large virtual festival area set up by the Drenthe RES.

Together, the stories and advice form the Drenthe Energy Story. This Story was subsequently presented to the Drenthe Energy Table, the administrative leaders of RES Drenthe.

Watch the video about the population survey by the president of the Drenthe Energy Table Riek Siertsema.

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