Besides its activities to involve political stakeholders very early during a grid expansion in Schleswig-Holstein, TenneT and the regional government implemented a variety of public information activities.
To inform the public, a website was established by the government, and public events were organised. In each county, at least one event took place. The Ministry of Economics moderated the events. TenneT found it very helpful that the ministry made it clear that the “how” could be discussed during the events whereas the “if” question was not up for debate. This, however, could have been discussed at other occasions with policy-makers or during the process of establishing the national grid development plan. Citizens were informed about the events through newspaper announcements. Normally, community centres served as venues. There was a strong interest in the events with up to 200 participants. Often, citizens arrived early in order to get a first idea on the plan, which was publicly displayed and illustrated on a poster. TenneT would normally participate with two project managers – one for technical issues, and one for permitting themes – one press contact, and one person responsible for political contacts and environmental planners.
On the website, the aims and rationale behind the net development initiative are explained, and regular updates on agreements and events given. Moreover, the site informs about future steps in the process and options for citizens to get involved. An email address and telephone number were established to which citizens can send their objections or questions. TenneT so far answered all the questions, documented them and developed a set of frequently asked questions that will be posted on the website. At the next planning steps, these questions and the feedback will be considered.
To inform their stakeholders regularly on project updates, TenneT has established a project newsletter. The mailing list is constantly updated with stakeholders, which attend meetings or events.