Women in Community Wind Energy

Existing studies indicate that women are very active in the environmental and climate movement, but that they are underrepresented in the area of community energy. WWEA and LEE NRW are therefore investigating the role of women in renewable energies in a new study.

The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) wants to examine the role of women in renewable energies in cooperation with the Association for Renewable Energy of the German State North Rhine-Westphalia-Landesverband Erneuerbare Energien NRW (LEE NRW). Studies to date indicate that women are particularly active in the environmental and climate movement, but tend to be underrepresented in community energy. Accordingly, community energy as a central component of the decentralized energy transformation will be at the center of the new study by the two

“The energy transformation has always developed its dynamism from the bottom up – committed citizens got the energy transition rolling in the first place. Analyzing the gender distribution in the area of community energy is therefore an important component in order to better understand and reinforce this dynamic. In addition, we have reached a point in the energy transformation where we have to involve all actors in society in order to be successful in the long term,” explains the Secretary General of WWEA, Stefan Gsänger.

The core of the study will be personal interviews with experts in community energy. When selecting the projects, different locations and types of community participation are taken into account in order to enable conclusions to be drawn about the nationwide situation, and also internationally.

Madeline Bode, advisor energy economy and politics at LEE NRW, coordinates the survey in North Rhine-Westphalia: “Community energy is a key element of a successful energy transformation. Numerous community energy projects in North Rhine-Westphalia show already today how a sustainable energy supply based on renewable energies can succeed in a participatory manner. In this joint task there should be no gender-based differences. This study will show how far we have come in this area and
what steps we can take to really get all citizens excited about active engagement.”

A project advisory board made up of international experts supports the research project. The experts from the energy sector have done pioneering work for the energy transformation in many cases and have already campaigned for the participation of women.

The first results of the study will be published and discussed during two community energy symposia, in spring 2021 and 2022. In the further course, ways will be analyzed and suggested how the currently suspected imbalance can be reduced.

WWEA is the global umbrella association for wind energy headquartered in Bonn and has been active in the field of community energy for more than ten years. WWEA works on the global level for a switch towards 100% renewable energy, with a special focus on community based approaches. In a previous publication by WWEA, the threats to community energy projects from the tendering system, bureaucracy and planning uncertainty were discussed.

As the umbrella association for the renewable energy sector in North
Rhine-Westphalia, the LEE NRW bundles the interests of all areas of the energy transformation. The association includes small and medium-sized companies, associations and citizens. The overall goal is 100% renewable energies by 2050, in the areas of electricity, heat and transport. Five LEE regional groups engage to serve as competent local contacts, because in Germany’s traditionally leading energy state NRW, this industry is an important employer for 46’000 employees who generated a sales volume of 10 billion euros in 2017.