1st European Grid Conference

Transformation of the energy system is changing the geographic and time horizons for planning and implementing new infrastructure. To fully integrate renewable electricity from centralised and decentralised sources, the grid’s architecture needs to be adapted and expanded to allow transmission over long distances, across national borders, from generation to consumption and storage sites.

Thousands of kilometres of new lines need to be built today and in coming decades. However, public opposition is growing. To secure public support, new alliances across society are needed. It is necessary to bring more transparency to the grid business, to further develop participatory consultations and a toolbox for benefit sharing and compensation. Timely expansion of the grid will only be possible by including concerned citizens in the decision making process, and by addressing their legitimate concerns. How will the new legislation on permitting address these issues and stimulate understanding and support for grid expansion? What action beyond the new legislation is needed?

Hosted by Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) and Smart Energy for Europe Platform (SEFEP) the European Grid Conference “Beyond Public Opposition” raises public acceptance-related issues in discussions with decision makers, corporate stakeholders and representatives of the NGO community.


A) Transformation of the Power System: My Future, Your Future, Our Future

14:00 Welcome Note
Rebecca Harms | MEP
Sirpa Pietikäinen | MEP
Angelika Werthmann | MEP

14:10 The Challenge Ahead: Going beyond Public Opposition
Kristina Steenbock | SEFEP

14:25 Understanding the Future: Where do we come from, where are we going?
Prof. Dr. Carlo Jaeger | Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Presentation

14:40 The Story Behind: Declaration on Electricity Network Development and Nature Conservation
Harry Huyton | RSPB and Ben Voorhorst | TenneT

15:00 Keynote and Q&A
Günther H. Oettinger | Commissioner for Energy | Speech

15:45 100% Renewable Future for Europe - Vision, Dream or Nightmare?
Stephan Singer | WWF

B) Obstacles and Bottlenecks: The Electricity Grid

16:00 Grid Infrastructure: Super, Smart or SuperSmart?
Konstantin Staschus | ENTSO-E | Presentation

16:15 Political Leadership: Accelerating Permit Granting Procedures and Increasing Public Acceptance
Catharina Sikow-Magny | European Commission | Presentation

16:30 Operators’ Reality: Facing Public Opposition
Boris Schucht | 50Hertz | Presentation

16:45 Three Building Blocks for Public Acceptance: Transparency, Participation, Benefit-Sharing
Christoph Bals | Germanwatch | Presentation

C) Debate: Going Beyond Public Opposition

17:15 Motion: “Full public acceptance must take priority over rapid roll out.“
Chair: Richard Walker | Deutsche Welle

The debate tackles the dilemmas we face rolling out the grid for the renewables age:

  • Can we afford the delays that intensive public participation will inevitably bring?
  • Does an accelerated approach undermine democratic principles?
  • Can we afford the costs of benefit-sharing?
  • Should there be a default in favour of granting permits to grid projects?
  • Is transparency the panacea it is so often held up to be?
  • Whose responsibility is it to rally public opinion?

 18:00 Wrap-up and Outlook by Antonella Battaglini, RGI


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Theresa Schneider
Senior Manager–Communication

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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.