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Neighbors have voted for the first time on a new solar park: It was a clear yes

As the first municipality, Tønder has now held a vote on solar cells.

Yes to solar cells in the backyard.

It is now clear after 947 residents of Bredebro have had the opportunity to vote for or against a 64-hectare solar park north of the city.

The vote ended last night, and it is the first time a municipality has let citizens express their opinion through an anonymous vote.

166 voted yes to the solar park, while 101 voted no. Seven residents voted blankly.

In other words, only about one in three participated in the vote.

Mayor of Tønder and responsible for the vote, Jørgen Popp Petersen from the Schleswig Party, believes that the low turnout is about the fact that the residents are already comfortable with the project.

– It is as it is. Everyone has had the opportunity. The project has had a fine process, and without much debate, but with a lot of information. So I hope that’s what makes the difference here.

The vote is indicative

The neighbor poll is only indicative. In the end, it is still the elected representatives who have to turn the thumbs up or down.

The vote is therefore one of many other parameters when the city council later has to make a decision about the solar park north of the city.

According to Jørgen Popp Petersen, the vote must be used, among other things, to more easily assess local support for, for example, a new solar or wind farm.

– It is a prerequisite that there is local support. Here you have the opportunity to anonymously express your opinion on a project.

Because until now it has been difficult to decipher if there has been a lot of unrest around a project, says Jørgen Popp Petersen.

– We find that there are protest groups that stand up when we have to make a decision in the municipal council. And there you can have doubts as to whether they are local people or not.

This is how voting is done

  • When the city council is close to approving a solar cell or wind turbine project in the municipality, it must be held in public consultation for eight weeks.
  • In the last two weeks, the neighbors can vote anonymously in an indicative vote via the web.
  • Those who live less than 2,500 meters from a planned wind turbine or 1,250 meters from a planned solar cell can vote. They will receive the ballot by digital mail.
  • The result is included in the politicians’ final assessment of the project. But they are not forced to follow the majority in the vote.

Source: Tønder Municipality.

Voting is here to stay

In addition to the solar park in Bredebro, 18 citizens in Åbøl north of Toftlund also have the opportunity to vote yes or no to a solar park in the local area. Here everyone took part in the vote and here too there is a clear yes to the solar cells.

Voting was done electronically so people could do it from home. According to Jørgen Popp Petersen, the vote was unproblematic, and it has long been decided that Tønder Municipality will stick to offering citizens a vote on future projects as well, says the mayor.

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