Shaping grid debate

‘Shaping the Grid Debate’ (Debatte Stromnetze gestalten) has been established in Germany with the purpose of advancing the debate between different civil society actors and the broader public on the necessity of further developing the transmission grid to allow for an increasing share of renewables.

A recurring argument of local and national opponents of power lines is that those who decide about the need and locations of grid projects do not really care about the concerns of the population. This argument is supported by a widespread perception that grid operators are primarily lobbyists of their own interest. As a consequence, an urgently needed constructive exchange to consider the interests and concerns of society side by side with the interests of a successful energy transition is hindered from the very beginning. Instead of being resolved, conflicts can increase and necessary grid development projects can be slowed down significantly.

It is important to take note that there are many sceptical actors who are actually at the same time very much interested to engage in a constructive dialogue. ‘Shaping the Grid Debate’ has been initiated to provide a neutral platform for such an exchange, thereby deepening a culture of constructive communication.

‘Shaping the Grid Debate’ also aims to improve the evidence basis regarding two main arguments against grid development, namely a) that new lines are not needed for/could even structurally hinder a scenario where renewables expansion takes place primarily at a decentralised level or b) that new lines are relevant primarily to allow for longer running times of coal-fired power plants, but not to enable the energy transition. As of today, both those who generally support and those who are generally critical about grid development confirm the absence of and need for robust studies to counter these arguments.