A solar park is sustainable, but it can spoil your view if you live next door to one. Neighbours of the planned Midden Groningen solar park in Hoogezand were therefore invited to have their say on how to make the panels blend into the landscape. Science LinX also attended the meeting in De Gouden Zon restaurant on 6 February, with a popup version of its RE:charge exhibition
The RE:charge exhibits, which were developed in collaboration with the Energy Academy Groningen, give an impression of what the transition from fossil to sustainable energy involves. Visitors to the restaurant could use pedal power instead of electricity to whip up a refreshing smoothie on the Blender Bikes. Ice bulbs had been hung up to show how much heat is generated by energy consumption. There was also the chance to ask two Science LinX student-assistants, Anke Haaksma and Joachim Kooijinga, any questions about current research on energy transition and sustainability.
During the evening about 70 local residents gave the landscape designers their opinion of the plans. They could also have their say about the strip of land between the park and their back gardens. What would be planted there and which animals could they expect? There was some discussion about the impact of the solar park on nature and quality of life in the area. What effect would it have on the roe deer population? How could it be made more attractive for dog lovers? And what would be the effect of all those hightech solar panels in the middle of nature?
Although not all residents were pleased with the plans, there was a large number who did support the project. Residents of the area around the park will be able to invest in the panels via the SunBrouck energy cooperative. This will reduce their energy bills.
At the end of the evening the Blender Bikes, melted ice bulbs and other Science LinX RE:charge exhibits were returned to the Zernike Campus, where part of the RE:charge exhibition is on show at the Energy Academy Building. The landscape architect returned home with the feedback from the evening. He will consider this in his plans, which will appear online in mid-March. The final plans will need to be approved by the Municipality before planning permission is granted. Then the panels can be installed and energy transition will be that bit closer.
More information on the solar park project and information evening can be found on the website of
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