ESSEN, Germany, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- German energy company RWE concluded that public sentiments on energy should be taken seriously, though education is critical.
RWE Chief Executive Officer Peter Terium said RWE has worked to get a better understanding of the motivation behind protest movements. The company said that, with more networking opportunities available online, it's getting more difficult to allay criticism of energy strategies.
"The study demonstrated that, although the public has a great deal of sympathy for the energy changeover, many citizens do not yet have a clear grasp of what exactly is involved," RWE said in a statement. "The process needs to be explained better and more intensively."
RWE has been active in efforts to expand the wind energy use across much of Europe. It said the energy industry is facing "special challenges" because of the sea change in national and international energy policies. Critics of wind energy cite aesthetics, noise and wildlife issues as top concerns.
Terium said public perception of large companies like RWE is in the decline. As dissatisfaction grows, so does the need to address public concerns.
"Citizen participation must be an integral part of planning for all companies," he said. "And it must be 'genuine', that is, the citizens must be granted real influence on the course of events."
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