Miros?awa and Mieczys?aw Horodiuk sit on a couch in their living room, their aged cat stares through the window. Here in Ko?czewo in north western Poland a late spring snow has fallen, delaying the spring planting for this farming family. They rest easy knowing that summer will come and they now have a guaranteed income.
10 years ago a wind energy developer approached the Horodiuk family to rent part of their farmland for a wind turbine. They were sceptical about this opportunity. It would have been difficult for them to agree if they were on their own, but they had support.
The citizens of Kobylnica had been prepared for such an event. Leszek Kuli?ski, mayor of Kobylnica, became interested in wind turbines while on holiday in Denmark. (His wife complained that 80% of the photographs he took were of wind turbines.) Leszek wanted to bring this industry to Kobylnica. He travelled to Germany to research and to investigate if it was safe for the community. He returned determined to make his commune attractive to wind energy developers.
His efforts have made Kobylnica the best rural commune in the country for renewable energy projects, according to Newsweek Poland.
It was difficult to get the people onside. Kobylnica was the first commune in Poland to take steps to build community support for wind energy from the ground up. The mayor and his team had to develop their own processes to raise awareness. Many consultations were held and input from the residents was taken into consideration. It worked. When the wind developers came calling; the Horodiuks were ready and willing to work with them.