NGOs will actively bring their specific knowledge to grid development projects. By doing so, better projects – with regard to nature protection aspects and ecological soundness, but also transparency and participatory processes – can be built. The set-up will create a beneficial exchange, allow grid operators to receive helpful expertise in designing projects early on, and can ideally avoid delays at a later stage.
Issues that are inherently relevant for NGOs due to their expertise and objectives, such as bird protection, biodiversity, effective public and stakeholder participation, or the relation of grid infrastructure development and climate protection, are all part of IRD discussions. First concrete projects entail the establishment of a hotline to systematically collect and jointly analyse information about bird strike and finding new approaches to allow for a constructive debate about grid needs in the electricity system of the future at a national and local level.
Olivier Feix, Head of Nature Protection and Permits 50Hertz: “We are thankful that environmental NGOs help us to learn how to better design and implement our grid projects. We are convinced that ecologically sound grid development paired with an intensive stakeholder dialogue is essential to avoid delays in the grid projects that we desperately need to make the energy transition a success.”
Gerald Kaendler, Vice President Asset Management Amprion: “The constructive and close cooperation between NGOs and TSOs within RGI is enlightening. The inspiring dialogue will help us in paving the way for the electricity grid of the future. Taking the relevant stakeholders on board at an early stage is the key to create a win-win situation for the environment, local population and the consumers. This is the basis to get the necessary acceptance for infrastructure projects which contribute to integrating renewables and a truly European energy market.”
Christoph Bals, Policy Director Germanwatch: "Constructive dialogue on an equal footing with critical actors forms the basis for trustful cooperation in grid planning processes. In this spirit Germanwatch wants that relevant problems are taken seriously, but that they don’t block those power lines which are essential for the transformation towards a fully renewable energy system. We will engage with local, regional and national stakeholders as well as grid operators to bring forward constructive solutions.”
Leif Miller, Managing Director NABU: “We know for a fact that there is a high risk for birds like cranes, swans or waders to collide with power lines. Technical solutions are on the table, so we should find a way to better understand when and where these incidents happen.”
As the name suggests, IRD aims to implement RGI partners’ common ambitions, which are laid down in reference documents such as the “European Grid Declaration on Electricity Network Development and Nature Conservation” and its extension on transparency and participation. Both documents were signed by more than 30 organisations from the electricity sector in 2011 and 2012. The feasibility and benefits of such collaborations have already manifested themselves in the EU-funded project BESTGRID that was coordinated by RGI.