The changes in our climate resulting in bad weather is a fact, and with regards to the environment it is no longer a question of “if we should do something”. We HAVE to change our way of living. The CO2-emissions is and remain the biggest threat to the globe and everything living, and the whole world is facing a vast transition.
We can’t just stand and watch, we have to act – globally and locally. But how?
In Denmark, and especially in Sønderborg, we have throughout many years been working on making our energy consumption more efficient, reorganizing our sustainable energy production and making our society more CO2-neutral. In the green transition wind energy plays a huge role, which makes the windmill parks like Lillebaelt South, the most essential difference.
Windmill park Lillebaelt South
It is not new that local debate and engagement is created when the green transition for the community has consequences for the individual. When it is the price on your house or the view from your window that is on stake. That is why it is a legal requirement for every environmental project that more public consultation processes and thorough environmental examinations are set up.
Many years of preparations, discussions and dialogues behind the energy agency giving us permission to beginning our preliminary investigations and environment consequence assessment for the establishment of the windwill park in the southern part of Lillebaelt.
The first consultation phase and the mayor meetings in the summer of 2017 created the possibility to come up with suggestions for issues, that are to be evaluated with regards to preliminary investigations and the environmental consequence assessment.
The suggestions will be a part of the report when it is turned in in December 2018. Hereafter, a thorough hearing phase is arranged where all the results can be challenged anyone. Only after this event, the energy agency can give its final approval for the windmill park to be established.
Until then it is not decided who are to deliver the windmills, how tall they should be, what color they should have or how big the foundation should be.
The answers to these questions are being found within the ongoing preliminary investigations that calculate what consequences the different scenarios will have on the environment. We are not allowed to, nor can or will we affect the preparation of the environmental consequence assessment. The examinations of the changes with regards to human, plant and animal life are placed in the hand of objective and professional experts.
Experiences from former projects are included
As for what the project means for animal life the investigations are based on the many experienced from similar projects and the solutions, that have been developed in order to avoid an impact on, for example, porpoise. The experiences from the establishment of the Storebaeltsbridge show that the sea creatures are bothered during the construction phase - and the experiences from the Oeresundsbridge show that the foundation create an artificial reef. That said, they also show that as long as the noise levels during the construction phase are controlled, the animal life will normalize again – and the artificial reef can create a new breeding and feeding ground, which benefits both animals and local fishermen.
How the environment and animal life is affected during and after the establishment of Lillebaelt South will be thoroughly analyzed - and when the results are available the energy agency are more than willing to engage in dialogue with the citizens regarding the consequences thereof. On an enlightened background.
The common citizen as investor
The establishment of Lillebaelt South will require vast investment and due to all subsidies from the state having been removed, the financing is, solely, arranged through investment. Anyone can become an investor in the Lillebaelt South – project and a minimum of 20% of the shares are offered to citizens in the six municipalities around Lillebaelt. The calculations show an annual revenue of between 5 and 8 percent, which is hardly a return profile that will attract greedy investors.
Lillebaelt South is to be a reasonable, long-term financial investment that attracts common citizens who seek a stabile investment return that could serve as, for example, retirement savings. The big green transition is to go hand in hand with investors, but also with local interests and values are to be taken into considerations when planning the citizens’ interaction with the project.
Windmills are a preference – The transition, on the other hand, is a common cause
The debate about windmills is quickly escalates due to many aspects regarding the view of windmills is a matter of preference. Are sea windmills ugly? Maybe, but are “visual damages”, caused by sea windmills near the coast a more damaging factor than rising water levels that alter the landscape and coastal line? How much is an unchanged view worth compared to a green CO2-neutral energy that covers 100,000 people for 20 years?
In a project like Lillebaelt South many allegations occur, but there are no simple and objective answers. During 2018 a very comprehensive visualization of Lillebaelt South will be developed so that its affected neighbors can get a view of it.
When the visualization has been developed, we gladly initiate a debate about Lillebaelt South.
When we plan or build highways or expand collective train traffic, it often annoys certain citizens. We still do it in order to increase mobilization for the community, so that we can keep on developing as a society.
In Sonderborg we a big supporters of wind energy and there is no doubt that we see Lillebaelt South as an important contribution to the green transition. Denmark needs more green energy for the electricity driven trains, new electrical heat pumps along with our electrical and hybrid cars. It is energy we all need – and the windmills are to be a foundation in an ongoing expansion of green energy.
We, and the rest of the world are facing many unsolved problems and we can – and should – all make our own green positive fingerprint. We cannot just be passive and let others solve the problems. The realization of Lillebaelt South is an important step, and it needs a lot of engagement and competence – we welcome anyone who wishes to be a part of it.