Germany to Offer ‘Hush Money’ to People Forced to Live by Wind Farms

'clean' energy
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The government of Germany will consider a proposal by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to pay citizens money who are forced to live next to wind turbines.

In response to rising protests against the installation of wind farms, under the German government’s ‘Energiewende’ green energy initiative, the SDP has proposed a plan to offer “direct financial incentives for people who live in those regions”.

“Those people who accept windmills in their neighbourhood, and so make the expansion of renewable energy possible, should be rewarded,” said SPD environment spokesman Matthias Miersch according to DW.

The payoff money would be given to local authorities; however, it would have to be spent on direct handouts to citizens. The move was criticised by Uwe Brandl, the president of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, who described the scheme as hush money.

“What we’re noticing now is more in the direction of paying people to keep quiet,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the right direction. If we start paying for people to keep quiet, then it’ll start with windmills and will go on with roads and other infrastructure measures.”

“I think the government would be well-advised to sensitize people to the fact that they’re part of this game, part of this society, and change is only possible if everyone is ready to participate in it,” he added.

There has been a rising number of ‘not in my backyard’ protests across Germany against the installation of wind farms.

Rudi Frischmuth, a resident of the rural town of Langerwehe in Western Germany, said that the wind farm close to his house “drives you insane at night”.

“The big cities are the ones telling us to deal with the wind turbines, but they don’t want any themselves. It can’t be that one part of the population keeps getting disadvantaged,” Frischmuth told DW.

In December, President Donald Trump took aim at Germany over the country’s energy policy, saying that the pollution created in the production of wind turbines in Germany outweigh any benefits.

“Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything right?” said President Trump.

“If you own a house within vision of some of these monsters, your house is worth 50 per cent of the price. They’re noisy,” he added.

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