TenneT & KWI
TenneT, in partnership with KWI (Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities, Essen), implemented a set of actions that sought to re-design the standard participation processes. This was done in order to enhance “early” public participation in grid expansion projects, to listen and to improve levels of acceptance among local stakeholders.
In the past, participation processes did not offer citizens and stakeholders a chance to influence the routing of new lines. With accompanying research and co-financing from the Demoenergy project (a German government funded project), TenneT and KWI jointly developed and implemented a new set of participation concepts that sought to overcome this. These were developed with the assistance of both external consultants and facilitators, and introduced new formats for public events, workshops and continuous planning groups.
The basis of this new concept was to host participation processes in two areas posing particular planning challenges along a line in need of upgrade and expansion between Redwitz and Schwandorf. These participation processes included a set of three public events in each city, accompanied by the established TenneT info-mart format, which allows for informal exchange. A central feature of the participation processes were “Route Assessment Teams”, who held in-depth discussions regarding routing options. These routing teams were made up of a mixture of randomly selected citizens, NGO groups, municipal and forestry agencies as well as representatives from TenneT. These meetings helped TenneT understand the sensitivities and preferences around routing options and provided citizens and other stakeholders accountable planning info and interaction with TenneT.
The conventional format of info-marts as a forum for one-on-one interviews between interested citizens and the project team has been used by TenneT on several high-voltage power line projects and was integrated into the public participation processes. The participatory processes described here included info-marts but went beyond this already established format.