Germanwatch Argumentation Map: The expansion of extra-high voltage direct current transmission lines (HVDC)

The argumentation map was developed by Germanwatch on the basis of many stakeholder dialogues held under the Germanwatch/RGI project, 'Debatte Stromnetze gestalten'/'Shaping the Grid-Debate' and of a scientific literature review. It deals with the currently planned extra-high voltage direct current transmission lines (HVDC) in Germany and, in particular, with the debate as to whether/why HVDCs should be built or not. In this respect, it aims to serve as a clear representation of the various and complex topical arguments and theses, without evaluating them.

Argumentation map

Use the buttons on the left below to 1) Zoom, 2) Switch between views 'Overview' & 'Detail', and 3) Enter full-screen mode.

Objective and content

The map is intended to provide as comprehensive and orderly an overview of the debate as possible. It enables the linking-up of otherwise parallel debates: Political arguments, as well as scientific and civil society arguments are presented and existing content-related connections become visible. It contains arguments and theses from very different stakeholder groups, such as citizens' initiatives, politicians, network operators and scientists. 

Individual arguments are clearly ordered according to their relation to other arguments and theses, so that their role in a debate becomes clear. Arguments can support or counter other arguments. In addition, arguments are clustered into topic blocks, so that an overview of individual sub-topics of the German debate is also possible. In the debate on the necessity of HVDC expansion, these include, for example, arguments on nature and landscape conservation, the network development plan, intra-EU trade and the decentralised energy transition.

The map is the result of many stakeholder dialogues under the Germanwatch/Renewables Grid Initiative project ‘Debatte Stromnetze gestalten’/’Shaping the Grid-Debate’ and of a scientific literature review. It is therefore a living document which can be added to and rearranged at any time. Feedback is always welcome. If you feel that something is represented incorrectly or that an argument is missing, please contact Germanwatch's representatives at their 'Debatte Stromnetze gestalten' page.

A note on transferability - This map reflects the German debate. It has been developed based on the direct exchange with German local, regional and national stakeholders. Similar to an actual (geographical) map, it does not apply in any different setting,  but instead we show it here in order to present a methodology on how to make a debate visible and to allow for a structured exchange on a complex topic. For a similar exchange in a different context, such a map can be built - based on the exchange with the respective relevant stakeholders in this context and on their arguments.

Reading aid - For reasons of spacing, the map is split into an upper & a lower section. The central thesis "HVDC expansion: the planned HVDCs should be built" is at the bottom (or top) of the map and forms the starting point of the debate. From here, the debate branches out. The map is therefore to be read in the direction opposite to that of the arrows. The arrows represent supporting and counter-arguments. The red arrows indicate that one argument is attacking another, i.e. claiming that an assumption/premise in that argument is not correct. The green represent an argument supporting another, indicating reasons why the assumptions in that argument are correct.

Key documents


Stephanie Bätjer
Director - 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.