Close to the citizen, close to home, on an equal footing




Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Areas (Germany) & TenneT TSO GmbH, TenneT


The government of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, the TSO TenneT and the local districts of Dithmarschen and Nordfriesland developed an informal dialogue procedure for a new transmission line along Northern Germany’s West coast, which was implemented in close cooperation in 2013. Corridor options and technology alternatives were discussed with local citizens, municipalities and associations before the permission phase of the project and as a sort of substitute for the formal spatial planning procedure.


  • Strong cooperation with a common commitment to a plan and a common dialogue process among state government, districts and grid operator
  • State and district politicians assumed political responsibility for grid expansion at public dialogue events
  • Outcomes of the dialogue process (over 2000 participants, circa 400 consultation contributions) had a positive impact and were considered in the project’s planning


The practice was applied to a new 380kV transmission line in the state of Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany, over 3 years (2012-14) of developing, implementing and evaluating the dialogue process. The developed procedure and insights gained can be leveraged for any grid expansion project throughout Germany and Europe.  


Main information:

Schleswig-Holstein is the state with the best wind power conditions in Germany due to its coastal regions. With increasing shares of renewable energy generation, grid expansion projects are becoming essential in order to transport a large part of generated power to consumption centres in South and West Germany. Successful cooperation between the state, local governments and the project developer can greatly contribute to the acceleration of grid expansion projects.

For this purpose, the project partners agreed on a realisation agreement that would serve as the foundation for designing and implementing a dialogue process. The agreement’s core ideas are:

  1. Implement an early, informal dialogue process in the region with several regional conferences, specialist and citizen dialogues, and
  2. Establish a clear, transparent and ambitious schedule for planning, approval and construction.

The dialogue was divided into a citizens’ dialogue, which was moderated by the environmental NGO German Environmental Aid (DUH), a planning dialogue, and a plan approval procedure. The outcomes of the dialogue processes impacted the project on a wide range of issues. On the technical side, 80% of the total new 380kV line was designed to be strung on the same pylons as an existing 110kV line. In a regional bird migration area, the old 110kV line is going to be stripped down and replaced by a ground cable to prevent having two lines crossing bird migration routes. On the community side, the largest possible distances to residential buildings were planned and rules were developed in relation to agriculture and nature preservation issues in the affected areas.


Additional information:

The realisation agreement and corresponding dialogue procedure have been applied to another grid expansion project across the East coast of Schleswig-Holstein (2014-16).


RGI gratefully acknowledges the EU LIFE funding support:

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the LIFE Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.