The majority of project developers and public authorities in Europe recognise the need to better inform and engage stakeholders when planning a new power line. Nonetheless, public opposition still develops to a great extent in some locations. For example, the BESTGRID pilot project SuedLink has recently stirred controversial discussions. Public irritation has fostered a political debate on the need for SuedLink and other major grid projects, partially withdrawing previously existing political support.
This situation provokes new questions that we discussed during our first public BESTGRID workshop on 21 May 2014 in Hamburg.
A summary of the workshop is available here.
09:00 Registration, tea & coffee
09:30 Welcome by Antonella Battaglini, Renewables-Grid-Initiative (RGI) and
Dr. Christian Schneller, TenneT
09:45 What is BESTGRID?
Antina Sander, RGI/ Project Leader BESTGRID | Presentation
10:00 SuedLink – BESTGRID pilot project 1
• Dr. Christian Schneller and Marius Strecker, TenneT | Presentation
• Rotraud Hänlein, Germanwatch | Presentation
11:00 Tea & coffee
11:30 Braine-l’Alleud – Waterloo – BESTGRID pilot project 2
• Valérie Legat, Elia and Valérie Xhonneux, Fédération Inter- Environnement Wallonie | Presentation
12:30 Networking lunch
13:30 Parallel discussion sessions:
EU-sponsored study on raising public acceptance for grid extension: Online toolkit for increased stakeholder dialogue as major result
Impulse speaker: Markus Kaufmann, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants | Presentation
In October last year, the EU’s Directorate-General for Energy commissioned a consortium to develop an online toolkit for project communication and stakeholder integration in the context of power grid development projects. During the development, a lot of questions regarding the area of tension between European messages and local acceptance of grid projects have been discussed with many stakeholders. During session 1, the discussion was further deepened.
Innovative participatory approaches – can they support formal planning procedures?
Impulse speaker: Mathis Danelzik, Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI Essen) | Presentation
Can new participatory tools be applied to grid development projects? TenneT and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities are currently examining this question together. During session 2, experiences and know-how were exchanged and discussed.
Energy and democracy – from participation to ownership?
• Molly Walsh, Friends of the Earth and Project Leader of EU project ‘Community Power: enabling legislation to increase public acceptance for RES projects across Europe’ | Presentation
• Viktoria Matkovskaia, Berlin Energie (Berlin state agency that is applying to repurchase the Berlin distribution grid)
While the discussions on how to enhance participation in the planning and permitting of transmission grids is on-going, the distribution level has experienced a previously unknown success of energy cooperatives in the past years. Step by step, citizens take control over different elements of local electricity supply covering the generation, distribution and trading of electricity. What implications does this new sense of ownership on the distribution level have for transmission grids?
15:00 Tea & coffee
15:30 Report of discussion session
16:00 Panel discussion:
The future of social acceptance and lessons learned from Bavaria
In Bavaria, unexpected high public opposition and a simultaneous withdrawal of previous political backing for one of the major German power line projects have – at least temporarily – brought infrastructure developers to a halt. What can we learn from this case for the future?
• Marius Strecker, TenneT
• Rotraud Hänlein, Germanwatch
• Mathis Danelzik, Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI Essen)
• Michael Schultz, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and
17:00 End of workshop
The workshop was hosted by TenneT Germany.