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Renewables-Grid and Public Acceptance (BESTGRID)

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Planning and realising grid development projects is often difficult and time consuming due to local opposition, complex permitting procedures and the challenges of minimising impacts on nature and communities. The BESTGRID project will help to overcome these challenges by building on a close cooperation between environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and transmission system operators (TSOs) from the UK, Belgium and Germany.Working together during the planning as well as the implementation phases of selected pilot projects, the project is aiming at improving local public acceptance for grid development processes, speeding up permitting procedures while proactively addressing or even surpassing environmental protection standards, and encouraging the implementation of constructive public engagement in permitting procedures for European “projects of common interest”. By sharing the knowledge and comparing experiences, the project will deliver a more rounded understanding of how to better implement grid expansion projects. 

Results

  • In the selected pilot projects in UK, Belgium and Germany, new approaches to achieving public acceptance to speeding up permitting procedures for new power lines for the integration of renewables have been developed, tested and applied. Two pilot projects focues on the post-evaluation of already implemented activities. 
  • An intensive exchange of best practices was initiated. Via large international workshops, through an interactive project webpage and new tools to exchange best practices developed during the project, the project partners engaged with external stakeholders in discussions about the experiences acquired in the project.
  • The transferability of best practices was tested in three transferability workshops in Italy. 
  • Continuous accompagnying communication measures (incl. newsletters, webpage, media relations, NGO guidebooks, trainings, and presentations at major conferences, etc). ensured that best practices developed will be applied in ‘projects of common European interest’, as defined in the EU Regulation on trans-European energy infrastructure.
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Lessons learned

  • Application of best practices requires adaptation to specific circumstances.
  • Personal interaction and relationships are possibly the most important element of successful stakeholder engagement.
  • ƒHonest and trusted stakeholder engagement needs strong organisational backing.
  • ƒIt may be too late to debate the need for a project with your stakeholders, but you always need to explain it.
  • ƒChanging legislation cannot resolve challenges, but can improve the process.
  • ƒIt may take years to see the effect of actions taken.
  • ƒMore systematic knowledge management and learning are needed.
  • ƒIf you wish for meaningful stakeholder dialogue, the first step is mutual understanding and education.
  • ƒInvolving professional NGOs in the design and delivery of stakeholder engagement and environmental protection procedures helps to improve projects and build trust.
  • ƒThere is a benefit in engagement at the ‘meta-level’ as demonstrated in the BESTGRIDproject consortium.
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

Renewables Grid Initiative e.V.
Neue Promenade 6
10178 Berlin
Germany
Contact point: 
Name: 
Antonella Battaglini
Name: 
Antina Sander

Budget

In brief

Duration:
01/04/2013 to 31/10/2015
Contract number: 
IEE/12/794

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