Keywords: local citizen participation, project development, renewable energy financing, wind energy, wind farms, wind power, ownership, Germany
Evolution of local citizen participation schemes in the German wind market
Local citizen participation schemes like the German 'Bürgerwindparks' (citizen wind farm) have been an important vehicle to develop the wind energy business to its present state of market maturity. This article discusses ownership as an integrated part of the economic project design for renewable energy projects. Different forms of local citizen participation are differentiated and strategic aspects related to the entrepreneurial decision of involving local citizens are highlighted. Then, the focus will be on a description of different role models for local citizen-financed wind energy projects. The paper also explains the evolution of two new role models: the merger of existing project companies to larger citizen-owned project portfolio companies and the role of closed-end wind funds as a new equity provision approach. Finally, the role of local citizen participation schemes in different market phases is discussed.