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Journal Article

The potential of public participation to facilitate infrastructure decision-making. Lessons from the German and European legal planning system for electricity grid expansion

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Schweizer,  Pia-Johanna
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

Bovet,  Jana
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Citation

Schweizer, P.-J., Bovet, J. (2016 online): The potential of public participation to facilitate infrastructure decision-making. Lessons from the German and European legal planning system for electricity grid expansion. - Utilities Policy, 42, 64-73.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jup.2016.06.008


Abstract
The article examines the potential role that public engagement and participative processes to play a role in effective infrastructure planning in the context of energy policies. For example, by 2050, at least 80% of Germany’s electricity has to be derived from renewable energy sources if Germany is to meet the goals of its own energy policy. This includes the comprehensive and accelerated extension of the electricity grid. As a result of the magnitude of these changes, the German energy transition is not proceeding without debate and controversy. Public engagement is certainly no panacea for enhanced social acceptance, yet it offers substantial potential to facilitate the energy transition. The paper draws together social science and legal expertise in order to investigate the role of public participation in legal planning processes concerning energy infrastructures. The paper not only focuses on the extension of the German power grid, but also deals with participative policy at the European level. To this end, the paper analyzes the potential role of the German legal planning system in grid expansion and in the European processes of nominating Projects of Common Interest (PCI) and of drawing up the Ten Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP).