What do Zeeland municipalities, energy cooperatives and farmers think about the switch to renewable energy, and how do they participate in renewable energy projects? That is the subject of Zeekraal, an NWO-funded project that was just awarded to prof. dr. Gert Jan Kramer (UU, Copernicus Institute, Sustainable Energy Supply Systems) and dr. Herman Lelieveldt (University College Roosevelt, Political Science).

Citizens, farmers and businesses will decentrally generate a large segment of renewable energy as stipulated by the Climate Agreement. Lelieveldt:  “In this study we investigate how these actors are participating in this process and which values guide their decisions. For example, it is not well known yet why farmers decide whether or not to generate their own energy and it is interesting to consider how this can be combined with the transition to circular agriculture.” To this end,  the ‘Zeekraal’ project will, among others, map out the motives and experiences of farmers in Zeeland – a region with 120,000 hectares of agricultural land and nearly 3,000 farms.

Funding for this research comes from the MARET program – Societal Aspects of the Regional Energy Transition – a collaboration between NWO, five provinces, and the National Platform Regional Energy Strategies. The results of the research will be used in workshops and tool kits to strengthen the participation of municipalities, cooperations, and farmers in the regional energy transition. To this end, the project consortium includes relevant stakeholders such as the Province of Zeeland, the regional energy cooperative Zeeuwind, the Southern Horticultural association (ZLTO), and the Saman Groep, one of the largest renewable energy system suppliers in Zeeland.