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global case study

France

Marne

We have developed a collaborative initiative in France to work with local farmers on sustainable agricultural projects. We use round table events to not only identify and support farmers ’concerns and needs, but also to learn from them.

Onshore Wind
63.6 MW of installed capacity
Marne, France Location

global case study

France

Marne

We have developed a collaborative initiative in France to work with local farmers on sustainable agricultural projects. We use round table events to not only identify and support farmers ’concerns and needs, but also to learn from them.

Onshore Wind
63.6 MW of installed capacity
Marne, France Location

Parallel transitions


Building relationships and sharing an open approach to planning and development at the beginning of any project is an important step in helping make this a reality. It’s an approach that can help to grow both understanding and support among the local community.  That’s why we’ve been exploring ways of working with local farming communities in areas where we hope to establish new wind projects.

Bringing interested farmers together for open and honest discussions in a round table approach can pay real dividends. It facilitates the discussion of concerns and ideas, and also helps us to find opportunities for the creation of sustainable, environmentally-friendly agricultural initiatives that are independent of the wind power project itself.

Building relationships


The prospect of new renewable energy projects, particularly in areas where there have been none before,  can create questions and sometimes resistance from local communities. Often, the potential benefits and impacts of our plans are not understood, so it’s entirely understandable that there will be concerns.

The same is true for farmers whose land may be near proposed development sites, particularly those who do not stand to directly benefit financially from rental or sale of land.

We know that we must take the time to understand these concerns and bring such interested parties into the conversation around the table so we can respond to any questions and identify any potential green initiatives we can support.

It’s why we’ve established a dedicated team of agricultural engineers within BayWa r.e. France. This team makes sure these conversations begin at the same time as environmental and landscape studies relating to our proposals begin.

These round table meetings, which also include external independent experts, provide an opportunity for us to learn about the local environment from those who are most familiar with it. Working in a new geographical area can throw up new challenges for the company, so it makes sense to tap into the wealth of local knowledge that exists.

Quote

Demonstrating our all-round commitment to the energy, ecological and agricultural transitions is important to us, and it’s why we’ve sought a new way of working with farmers on the ground in areas where we are looking at new wind projects.

Corentin Sivy, Director for Wind Energy at BayWa r.e. France

Local Communities


We submitted plans for a hybrid 33.6 MW wind and 30 MW solar project in Marne in 2020, but it was two years earlier that we first invited farmers to come together so we could explain our plans, explore the potential for new local initiatives and learn from their local knowledge.

Everything from the use of fallow land and biodiversity, through to pollination and hedging was discussed, in an open and honest way. The farmers told us of their concerns and in turn, gained a good insight into our plans, the project benefits, and our commitment towards reducing carbon emissions.

We held a number of meetings to work out a way forward, and subsequently created a partnership with the Marne Chamber of Agriculture to drive through the initiatives we had all, together, agreed.

The agreed ideas included training and financial support for the purchase of two connected weather stations to help with land management, soil quality and frost planning – helping the farmers to reduce their use of fertiliser.

Another great initiative was the planting of ‘honey hedges’, designed to attract bees and other pollinators and help maintain biodiversity. We also offered local people training in regenerative agriculture and beekeeping. 

This collaborative approach has produced great benefits, helping us to bring forward more renewable energy projects, while supporting local people. Our open and honest approach from the very start helps demonstrate that we’re serious about doing the right thing for the local community.

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