While there is a great consensus in society that some electricity grids are needed for the successful transition of the electricity system towards higher shares of renewables, single grid development projects often face local opposition. During the past years, many grid operators reshaped their approach towards engaging both organised stakeholders and the public. Many governmental and non-governmental initiatives have been started to gain more support for grid development. These address all different stages of project planning and implementation – from the need definition to the construction phase.
However, concerns of affected communities still remain. They regard many different aspects, including the effect new grids might have on the environment, landscape, tourism, health (in particular the effects of electric and magnetic fields), or property prices.
While it might be unrealistic to gain the consensus of all actors involved in grid development projects in the end (acceptance of final result), chances are high that people accept the outcome of a dialogue and permitting process if they consider the procedure to be transparent, participatory and fair (acceptance of procedure). This is why we, together with our partners, continuously work on improving procedures approaches towards stakeholder engagement and public participation. The second part of the European Grid Declaration addresses these issues and a very big share of the work we have done on collecting and sharing best practices aims at improving the acceptability of projects. In addition, the project BESTGRID that RGI coordinated tested new approaches in real grid projects.