Early Public Involvement in the European Grid Extension

Term Paper, 2014

47 Pages, Grade: 1,0 - 1,5 (hervorragend)



1 Abbreviations

2 Introduction

3 Scope and limitations

4 Methodology

5 Need determination process
5.1 Phase 1 “Assumption/Scenario definition”
5.2 Phase 2 “Grid Modeling and Planing” . .
5.3 Phase 3 “Plan evaluation, adjustment and approval”

6 Public participation

7 Country overview
7.1 Austria
7.2 Belgium
7.3 Denmark
7.4 France
7.5 Germany
7.6 Italy
7.7 Netherlands
7.8 Norway
7.9 United Kingdom

8 Summary and conclusions

Tabular summary of public involvement activities

A List of transmission system operators and national regulators in the selected countries

1 Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

2 Introduction

In order to limit the impact of the green house gas effect on climate change, European Union set climate and energy targets, which foresee an increase of renewable resources share to 20 % till 2020 and a reduction of green house gas emissions by 80 - 95 % till 2050. Besides such measures as development of electricity storage, supply and demand- side energy management, increasing share of renewables will require significant changes to and extension of the electricity grid. Luck of public acceptance is by many expected to become one of the si gnificant obstacles to the development of electricity grid. It can result in massive protests and litigations, leading to a significant delay, higher cost and even to a stop of the planned extension works, thus hindering increased use of renewable energy. It is therefore essential to find effective ways to avoid massive resistance against grid roll-out and to prevent and handle potential conflicts. Public participation is a broadly acknowledged way of improving political decision-making process, which can help to achieve this goal. Many actors, including transmission operators, NGOs and approving authorities agree that earlier and better involvement of public needs is essential to the successful grid extension (Cf. Altmann et. al. 2012: p. 162; Rottmann 2013: pp. 4ff; Schneider and Sander 2012: p. 12; Renewables Grid Initiative 2011: pp. 1ff; Beinke et.al. 2012: pp. 1ff) A requirement for enhanced transparency and public consultation before starting of planning procedures is stated in the EU regulation on trans-European energy infrastructures (Cf. European Union 2013: pp. 1ff). Need definition is the very first step in the grid extension activities, acceptance and legitimacy of its outcome is a significant basis and precondition for all subsequent steps, such as spatial planning, permitting and finally construction works. Doubts, mistrust about and disagreement with the need of grid extension among public would significantly hinder or even make impossible to achieve acceptance and legitimacy at later stages. This homework aims to investigate if and to what extent an early public engagement takes place in the following nine selected European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdoom.

This homework was written in collaboration with the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI), whose aim is to support an efficient, sustainable, clean and socially accepted power grid development in Europe by bringing together all relevant actors of the society1.

3 Scope and limitations

This homework includes analyses on the current status of public participation activities in the selected European countries. The analysis provides information about the existing legal requirements, actual activities and used forms of public involvement during the need determination phase of the high voltage power grid. The homework provides answers to the following questions:

- Is public participation in the need determination required by the national law of the respective countries?
- What forms of participation do actually take place in the different phases of the need determination? Which actors can get involved?
- Is there a transparent documentation of the received input and its reflection in the decisions?

The results should allow an overall assessment of the current status of public participa- tion as well as a comparative analysis between the considered countries. This homework, however, does not include any assessment of the effectiveness of the applied public par- ticipation approaches. Nevertheless, it can serve as a good basis for further research on this subject.

The description of the need determination processes and related participation prac- tices in the selected countries is based on the most recent activities, for which an ap- propriate information is made available. The particular times, in which the respective actions took place, are specified in the text. Earlier activities are not reflected.

To make the reading more comfortable, the names of the respective transmission system operators and national regulators in different countries are not used in the text. Instead, the term transmission system operator (TSO) and national regulator (NR) are applied. The list of the specific names of each country can be found in the attachment.

Since the terms “stakeholders” and “public” are often used interchangeably, it is important to clarify their use in this work. For the purposes of this study the term stakeholder is used in a broad sense and means an individual or a group, who has an interest in an organization, strategy or project. This include individual citizens and all kind organizations: NGOs, political and governmental institutions, businesses. The term “public” does include only individual citizens and citizen action groups, NGOs as well as local and regional authorities, as representatives of public interests. Since participation processes conducted in the selected countries included not only the public, but also energy and other profit companies, political institutions, the more appropriate term “stakeholder involvement” is used in the overview of activities hereafter. The exact characterization of the addressed participant types is stated in the description of each particular participation procedure and in the summarizing table.

4 Methodology

In a first step, a literature review on the subject of high voltage grid need determination process was performed. On basis of this, a generic aggregated view on the process with its main steps was defined. This generic structure allowed to compare public participation approaches throughout the need determination in the selected countries.

In a second step, information about legal regulations, general procedures and public 2 involvement activities for each of the selected countries and for each phase of the need determination process as defined in the step 1 were investigated. This was mainly based on the publications of Weber at. al. in 2013, Schneider and Sander in 2012, information published by TSOs, NRs and other responsible authorities. In cases of incomplete information written interviews were made.

Finally, the acquired information was structured and aggregated, which allowed for a comparison and an overall analysis.

5 Need determination process

Need determination is the very first step of the grid extension and modification process, followed by the spatial planning and permitting (Cf. Schneider and Sander 2012: p. 10; Roland Berger, Strategy Consultants 2011: pp. 15f). Need determination requires comprehensive analyses of the existing power grid data and possible future developments of all factors affecting the need for electricity transmission. Extensive grid and market simulations incorporating expected future developments have to be carried out in order to identify potential capacity problems and, finally, identify possible transmission solutions. Since future long and medium term projections may significantly change, depending on the current developments, the assumptions and modeling has to be repeated at reasonable intervals. Need determination thus represents an iterative planning process. It is in the responsibility of TSOs and is often reviewed by NRs, who monitor the work of TSOs on an ongoing basis. This is due to the fact that TSOs usually represent natural monopolies and thus require controls to ensure cost efficiency and non-discriminant access to the network to all actors. The identified need for changes or extensions is usually summarized in official planning documents, which often have to be approved by the respective national authorities or governments.

The exact need determination process varies from country to country, but can nevertheless be roughly structured into its main phases, thus allowing to provide an aggregated view and carry out comparative analyses between the countries. This homework follows the structure proposed by Weber et.al., which combines technical and governance view on the need determination process. According to Weber et.al., the need determination process consists of three main phases, which are described below.

5.1 Phase 1 “Assumption/Scenario definition”

In oder to simulate future power flows in a transmission system, one should project two key variables: power withdrawals (demand) and power injections (supply). These two variables in turn depend on a wide array of interdependent technical, economical, political and social factors. They include economic development, governmental policies regarding renewable energy and carbon targets, energy efficiency, technology development, energy mix, fuel prices, locations and types of power generation units, consumer behavior, de- mography and others. Additionally, a set of exchange patterns with systems outside the given national power grid, such as with neighboring countries, should be considered. (Cf. Weber et al. 2013: p. 4; ENTSO-E 2012: pp. 33, 180ff; National Grid 2013c: pp.5ff; Amprion GmbH et al. 2013a: pp.5ff)

Given a high level of uncertainty and complexity about future developments, a single forecast cannot serve as a sufficient input basis for grid simulations and planning. There- fore, different scenarios covering a wide range of possible energy futures are developed. A scenario represents a coherent and comprehensive picture of a possible future devel- opment. It is based on a set of consistent interplaying variables. Considering different scenarios allows to cover a wide range of possible energy futures both on the production and the demand side. A scenario can be developed based on trends (bottom-up approach) or energy policy targets (top-down approach). (Cf. Weber et al. 2013: p. 4; ENTSO-E 2012: pp. 33, 180ff; National Grid 2013c: pp.5ff; Amprion GmbH et al. 2013a: pp.5ff)

5.2 Phase 2 “Grid Modeling and Planing”

Grid modeling and planning includes a market simulation, network studies and a final definition of preferred transmission solutions for identified capacity constraints.

A market simulation delivers a projection of power generation and load for each hour of the concerned future period. The goal is to depict a balanced demand and supply situation for every region and for any future instant at the lowest costs. The simulation uses mathematical optimization approaches and is based on comprehensive models, reflecting the behavior of a wide range of input components. Each country uses its own market simulation models. The demand is usually modeled as dependent on weather conditions. The power generation is projected for each power plant for 8.760 hours of a year. To do this, a ranking order of the power plant injections is determined. It often depends on the the incremental cost of the respective power generations. Injections with lowest costs are given priority to supply the existing demand. Power plants are thus added in order of their lowest incremental costs until the demand is fully met. Incremental costs depend on such variables as fuel prices, carbon emission prices, transport costs and others. The renewable plants generation is modeled as dependent on the weather conditions. As their variable costs are very low, they are normally given priority. However, this is not always the case, since operation restrictions of other generation plants must be considered (for example ramp-up and minimum run times of conventional power plants, necessity to operate combined heat and power plants to meet heating demand). The modeling of market simulations is thus very complex. The majority of the modeling tools apply probabilistic approaches. Market simulations are performed for each of the scenarios. Their most important results include power plant operation plans at lowest costs, overall power generation costs for assumed demand, power flows for each of the price zones (indicating export and import amounts for any future instant) as well as CO2-emissions. The outcome of market simulations identify the network transmission need and provide an input to the network studies, which are performed in a next step. (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: p. 34; Amprion GmbH et al. 2014b: pp. 33ff; Weber et al. 2013: p. 4)

Based on the result of market simulations, planning cases reflecting different pos- sible situations in the transmission system are generated for each of the scenarios. A planning case represents one specific point-in-time with its corresponding demand and generation dispatch of all generation units. Planing cases do consider different seasons (winter/summer), peak hours and weather conditions as well as constellations of power exchange with neighboring regions. A set of planning cases should sufficiently represent a scenario in order to assess the need for grid development. Therefore it should cover a variety of situations. Planing cases are selected by TSOs based on frequency of occur- rence and criticality. (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: pp. 35, 182ff; Amprion GmbH et al. 2012a: p. 97)

For all selected planning cases, comprehensive network studies are performed in a next step. Their aim is to identify, whether a power grid can safely operate in all identified cases. Therefore, a detailed mathematical model of a power grid reflecting its physical properties is used. The model considers planned and permitted expansion projects as well as decommissioning dates of old assets. Load flow calculations are performed based on the input from the planning cases. Results are evaluated against a range of criteria, which should be satisfied in order to ensure a healthy and robust power system in the future. Network studies cover both the steady state and cases of contingencies, when one or more elements of power system fail. They normally include load flow analyses, short circuit analyses, voltage collapse analyses and stability analyses. However, their content and order vary from country to country. (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: pp. 35, 182ff; Amprion GmbH et al. 2012a: pp. 97ff; Paulun and Haubrich 2010: pp. 395f)

Load flow analysis includes system evaluation in a steady state, when all of the network elements are available, and in cases of failures of some elements. Failures are assessed depending on the probability of their occurrence. The so called N-1 security criterion should be satisfied. This is the case, when a network shows acceptable limits for transmission and supply, following an outage of one of its elements (such as a transformer or a power line).(Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: p. 187; Amprion GmbH et al. 2012b: pp. 11ff)

Short circuit analyses are carried out to evaluate maximum and minimum symmetrical and single-phase short-circuit currents according to the IEC 60909 in every bus of the transmission network. The aim is to ensure that existing and new equipment ratings are adequate to withstand the short circuit energy available at each point in the electrical system. (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: p. 187; Amprion GmbH et al. 2012b: pp. 11f)

Voltage collapse analyses include evaluation of the network behavior in cases of demand increase by a certain percentage above the peak demand value. The calculations of the resulting voltage profiles, reactive power reserves and transformer tap positions are undertaken and assessed. (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: p. 187)

Finally, network stability analyses are carried out. They aim to investigate whether and how quick a network system returns to its stable state after a disturbance. The analyses include an assessment of rotor angle stability, frequency stability and voltage stability. (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: p. 187; Weber et al. 2013: p. 4)

The criteria used by TSOs to assess the analysis results usually include such indicators as maximum permissible thermal load, maximum and minimum voltage levels and short circuit currents, cascade tripping, maximum loss of load or generation, transient stability and others. (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: pp. 188f; Amprion GmbH et al. 2012b: pp. 13ff; Paulun and Haubrich 2010: pp. 395f)

Identified network constraints are analyzed in order to develop appropriate transmission solutions. They may include a wide range of measures, which can be roughly grouped into the three main categories:

- operational optimization;
- upgrading of the exiting transmission lines and other network equipment;
- extension of the existing grid by building new lines.

Operational optimization may include but is not limited to a dynamic thermal rating, control and redirection of power flows by addition of special network equipment. Also such measures as demand side management or re-dispatching of power generators may help to avoid system’s congestions. All of these measures do not require significant network investments. (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: pp. 180ff; National Grid 2013c: pp. 137ff)

Furthermore, upgrading of the existing lines and equipment can be used to solve iden- tified bottlenecks. This can be done for example by reconductoring, voltage-upgrading or an increase of the thermal capability of an existing overhead line. (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: pp. 189; National Grid 2013c: pp. 125ff; Amprion GmbH et al. 2012a: p. 100).

Finally, an extension of the existing power grid by building new transmission lines might be necessary. While most of TSOs have similar planning standards, there is no common methodology for identification of appropriate transmission solutions (Cf. ENTSO-E 2012: pp. 180). Each country has its own approach. Generally, economic, technological, social and ecological criteria might be applied to choose an optimal option. Their quantification and priority can significantly vary. However, a definition of an appropriate solution, which takes into account all relevant impacts and is based on a thorough analyses of all possible alternatives seems to be very important for achieving public acceptance as the decision on a specific measure is taken here.

5.3 Phase 3 “Plan evaluation, adjustment and approval”

A final draft of a NDP has normally to be submitted for a review by one or several public authorities. The review is often undertaken by NRs, who monitor the work of TSOs on an ongoing basis. Requested adjustments should usually be implemented in the NDP.

According to the EU directive 2001/42/EC a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) should be carried out for all energy plans and programs with potentially sig- nificant environmental impacts, which are prepared or adopted by an authority, are required by legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions and at the same time set the framework for future development consent of projects. The directive explicitly includes in its scope all projects listed in the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive2, but should also be applied to other plans and programs, likely having significant environmental effects. The objective of the SEA-directive is to contribute to a consideration of environmental issues during the preparation of the strategic plans and programs, thus promoting sustainable development.

Since NDPs often include grid power extension projects likely causing significant environmental impacts, they potentially fall into the scope of the SEA-directive. However, due to the ambiguous formulations (especially of such terms as “authority”, “plan or program” and “set the framework for development consent”), the SEA-directive leaves much room for interpretation (Cf. Lyhne 2012: pp. 227ff). Therefore, its implementation in national laws varies significantly among the countries, making a SEA (or a screening for its necessity for each new plan) mandatory in some of them and not required in others.

In those countries, where a SEA is required by the national law, an environmental report elaborating significant environmental effects and reasonable alternatives is pre- pared. Furthermore, a consultation with the public, the environmental authorities and other concerned countries in the case of significant cross-border effects has to be con- ducted. The environmental report shall be considered prior to the adoption of the NDP.

Depending on the respective country legislation, the final approval of NDPs may be in responsibility of one or several authorities, the government or parliament. It may be legally binding or have a consent character, allowing the next steps to be proceeded.

6 Public participation

Public participation can be described as a variety of practices, aiming at including the public (as individuals or organized groups) into the decision-making processes. Public participation has been increasingly practiced in recent years for political and planning decisions in various fields including science and technology governance. It is undertaken for a number of purposes, the most common of which can be summarized as follows (Cf. Rowe and Frewer 2000: p. 5; Grunwald 2010: pp. 91ff; Abels and Bora 2013: pp. 11ff; Rottmann 2013: pp. 6ff; Abelson et al. 2008: p. 1; Arbter 2011: p. 5):

- Allowing more democracy and procedural justice;
- Improving the quality of decisions through deliberation processes;
- Informing and educating the public;
- Increasing of decision acceptance and legitimacy thus avoiding widespread conflicts.

There is a big variety of public participation methods. They may include different engagement procedures, actors and levels of public involvement. Depending on a specific goal, the level of involvement can vary from information, gathering opinions (consulta- tion) to co-decision rights of participants or even self-governance. Public participants can include individual citizens (laymen), organized public groups, such as NGOs or citizen action groups and local or regional authorities as representatives of public interests. Ex- perts, policy makers and profit organizations can be involved as non-public participants. The selection of participants may be done in different ways. Participants can be chosen according to some specific criteria or by a random statistical selection. In many cases anyone interested or affected by the planned decision is invited. Finally, if one considers an additional dimension of procedural design, a wide range of participation practices appears. The examples of them include (but are not limited to) information meetings, expert panels, written consultations, surveys, focus groups, permanent working groups, citizen’s panels, consensus conferences. (Cf. Arnstein 1969: pp. 1ff; Rau et. al. 2012: pp. 1ff; Rowe and Frewer 2000: pp. 3ff; Arbter 2011: p. 29; Rottmann 2013: pp. 6ff)

Despite a growing number of undertaken public participation procedures, an assess- ment of their outcomes still represents a significant research gap, lacking empirical studies. Thus, no essential evidence exists, that the aspired theory-based goals of public partic- ipation can be achieved in the praxis. One of the reasons for this is a high complexity of outcome evaluations and the lack of any comprehensive framework for their conduct- ing.(Cf. Abels and Bora 2013: p. 119; Abelson et al. 2008: pp. 1ff; Rowe and Frewer 2004: pp. 512ff).

The majority of authors agree, that process characteristics are essential for achieve- ment of positive outcomes. Many publication providing criteria of a “good process” can be found. The most common of them are summarized below. They mostly refer to those cases, which aim at involving the public at least on the level of gathering opinions.

Clear scope and task definition From the very beginning of the participation process, the organizer should clearly define the scope, the task and the procedures of the participation. Especially the level of involvement, meaning how and in which way the participants’ input can influence a decision, should be stated. This should prevent any wrong expectations of the participants, which can lead to disappointment and frustration and make any further cooperation very difficult. (Cf. Rowe and Frewer 2000: p. 16; Beinke et.al. 2012: p. 4; Nanz and Fritsche 2012: p. 125ff)

Possibility to influence A participation should be undertaken only if there is a true possibility and a genuine intention of input reflection in the concerned decision. The outcome should be open and not known from the very beginning. Otherwise the whole process represents an attempt to justify the decision by an imitation of public involve- ment. The public feels manipulated and annoyed of spending its time and effort in vain. The mistrust can lead to an escalation of potential conflicts instead of their avoidance. Furthermore, clear and transparent rules for inputs reflection should be defined at the very outset. If possible, their acceptance by the public should be ensured. (Cf. Rowe and Frewer 2000: p. 14f; Arnstein 1969: pp. 1ff; Rottmann 2013: pp. 13ff; Beinke et.al. 2012: p. 4f; Nanz and Fritsche 2012: p. 125ff)

Early involvement The public should be engaged at a stage, when a decision has not yet been taken, so that possible changes requested by the public can be reflected without significant time and cost effort. (Cf. Rowe and Frewer 2000: p. 14; Rottmann 2013: pp. 13ff; Beinke et.al. 2012: p. 4f; Arbter 2011: p. 52f) Rowe states that many experts consider the point of first engagement as too late, when the public is supposed to choose an appropriate place of a facility, but does not have anymore the possibility to consider, whether the facility is needed at all. Thus, the public participation should be allowed at a stage when underlying assumptions and agenda are set. (Cf. Rowe and Frewer 2000: p. 14f) With regard to the need definition process this would mean that the public should get involved already at a stage, when assumptions and scenarios are defined. The later the involvement comments the more time and effort intensive becomes any consideration of the participants’ input. This in turn leads to an unwillingness or impossibility to reflect the changes by TSOs.

An early involvement can, however, make it more difficult to get people involved, as they normally tend to get interested only when more details about potential projects and areas affected become available. But at this later stage, some important decisions have already been taken. Finding appropriate approaches to overcome this phenomenon is a challenge which must be considered by the organizers. (Cf. Rottmann 2013: pp. 11ff)

Transparency A trustful and fair process should be as transparent as possible to all participants. It means that all relevant information should be made available in a proactive and comprehensive way. To make the information assessable and understand- able, it should be well structured and explained in an simple language. Furthermore, all information, including the content and results of participation has to be made public. This is necessary, since the results of a participation procedure normally concern a large affected public group, whereas participants do represent only its very small part. Those who were not present as participants but are confronted with the results should be able to get a comprehensive insight to all relevant details. (Cf. Rowe and Frewer 2000: p. 15; Rottmann 2013: pp. 13ff; Beinke et.al. 2012: p. 5f; Nanz and Fritsche 2012: p. 125ff)

Independence and fairness To ensure a trustful atmosphere it is important that the process is conducted in a fair, independent and unbiased way. This means inter alia, that its facilitator and management are truly independent and are also perceived as independent and trustful by the public. (Cf. Rowe and Frewer 2000: p. 12; Nanz and Fritsche 2012: p. 125ff; Rottmann 2013: p. 15) Involving external experts for validation of complex technical issues not easily understandable to the broad public (for instance, market and grid simulations during the need definition), can significantly contribute to the credibility. However, the experts should be genuinely free of any control or other interests and have a trustful reputation. Resource accessibility Participants can contribute to the subject in question only if they have sufficient resources available. Resources include hereby comprehensive information, knowledge and time. If not all underlying data relevant for an assessment is made available, the participants have actually no chance to critically assess the issue and form an opinion. Also when data is provided in an unstructured, too detailed or too aggregated way, it requires a significant effort for its validation, which might be not possible in a set time limit. Complex specific issues, which cannot be easily understood by the public, need an assessment by independent experts in order to assist the public with missing knowledge and expertise. Finally, sufficient time resources should be given, in order to allow a thorough validation of information. (Cf. Rowe and Frewer 2000: p. 15ff; Arbter 2011: pp. 56ff, 89ff; Rottmann 2013: pp. 13ff)

Representativeness To conduct a fair and democratic process, which is accepted by the large part of the public, it is important to carefully select its participants. If participant do represent only a certain slice of society with its particular interest, its result will not be representative for the overall public and might thus not be accepted by it. However, it is very difficult to form a participation group, which can be regarded as fully representative due to a range of practical reasons. Nevertheless, efforts should be made to find the best possible solution under given restrictions. (Cf. Rowe and Frewer 2000: p. 12; Beinke et.al. 2012: p. 5; Rottmann 2013: p. 15; Arbter 2011: p. 23ff)

Even though process characteristics play an important role for a successful participa- tion, its results are also highly dependent on the specific procedural design and context. The latter includes such variables as socio-political and legal situation, nature of the concerned issue, attitudes of participants, the extent of the controversy and others. (Cf. Abelson et al. 2008: pp. 19ff, 31f; Wesselink et al. 2011: pp. 2ff; Rowe and Frewer 2004: pp. 512ff; Abels and Bora 2013: p. 109ff) The variety of possible participation forms and contexts reveals, that public participation per se does not guarantee a better and more efficient decision processes. On the contrary, decisions may become more complex due to a diversity of views and interests, which should be reflected. (Cf. Abels and Bora 2013: pp. 117) This is also confirmed by the current state of the empirical research. Albeit many studies indicate positive effects of public participation, evidence exists that it can be ineffective or even worsen the situation and escalate conflicts. Therefore differ- ent participation forms should be applied for different contexts. There is, however, no clarity as to what context factors matter most and which public participation forms are more suitable for different context constellations. (Cf. Abelson et al. 2008: p. 19ff; Rowe and Frewer 2004: pp. 548f; Abels and Bora 2013: pp. 117, 121) In the following some examples of an interplay of procedural design and the context are laid down.

According to Abels and Bora (2004, 2013), one of the important features of the procedural design, having an impact on the participation outcome, might be the role assignment between experts and laymen. If experts have a key position, provided their social and objective representativeness and independence, the chances to better argu- ments through deliberations and by this to the acceptance and legitimacy of participa- tion results increase. The problem of such design, however, is a plausible communication and explanation of the results to the general public. The approach might be criticized as being not participatory enough and not unbiased. Moreover, expert driven design is bet- ter suitable for issues, where no deep ethical and value-based, but rather scientific-driven issues are at stake. Ethical and value-driven issues are better suited for laymen-dominant approaches since they can integrate a wide range of diverse views and values, having an equal right to be considered. Public participation practices with the predominance of laymen, however, do normally lack clearly defined objectives. The assessment of their performance is therefore especially difficult and does hardly presently exists. Finally, participation forms with balanced rights can lead to a high legitimacy and acceptance, provided that the balance can be kept by procedural rules throughout the whole process. (Cf. Abels and Bora 2013: pp. 120f; Abels and Bora 2004: pp. 100ff)

The choice of an appropriate procedural design should consider the conflict potential of the concerned issue along the possibilities of its mediation within the given partici- pation form. For instance, organized stakeholders do normally pursue some particular interests and are not ready to change their opinions in course of a deliberation process, since they act on behalf of their organizations and have to represent their interests. Even though citizens may also have specific interests in the considered issue (which inter alia depends on their selection method), they are not committed to any particular agenda and are thus more likely to work towards and develop conflict reducing suggestions. (Cf. Bora and Hausendorf 2010: pp. 256ff)

Public participation effectiveness is further dependent on its linkage to the decision making institutions. If there is a void of any connection of participation results through clear legally established ways, the process might represent a pure paper work, leading to nothing but frustration, refusal to participate in the future and, in worst cases, increased resistance. (Cf. Grunwald 2010: p. 97) According to Bora and Hausendorf (2010), the policy effects of those participation models that are integrated into policy- and decision making might be more considerable and meaningful. However, participation approaches today are typically not linked into the decision and policy making institutions. Public hearing is an example of participation form having a strong link to the administrative decision making. Nevertheless, empirical research illustrates several structural problems of this model. The legal system orientation towards scientifically based arguments does not allow any non-scientific concerns to be reflected in the decision. Furthermore, deci- sions should be taken within legally defined time, even in cases where no conflict solving solution have been found yet. (Cf. Bora and Hausendorf 2010: p. 239ff; Grunwald 2010: p. 97)

In conclusion, it should be underlined that the influence and interplay of the process characteristics, the procedural design and the context still remain a significant future research field. Little empirical evidence and evaluation studies on this subject exists. There is as well no agreement among the authors as to what “really matters”. While some authors argue, that a “good process can overcome some of the most challenging and conflicting contexts” (Beierle and Cayford 2002: p. 1ff), others say that the impact of public participation is highly context-dependent (Cf. Abelson et al. 2008: p. 19ff; Rowe and Frewer 2004: p. 19ff).


1 http://renewables-grid.eu/

2 The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (2014/52/EU) requires an environmental impact assessment to be conducted prior to an approval for construction of projects, which likely to have significant effects on the environment. The directive explicitly includes in its scope the construction of overhead electrical power links with voltage of 220 kV or more and a length of more than 15 km. Other overhead power lines should be considered on a case by case examination.

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Early Public Involvement in the European Grid Extension
University of Hagen
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public participation, public involvement, grid extension, grid planning, need determination for grid extension, grid planning in the EU, grid extension in the EU
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Natalia Geng (Author), 2014, Early Public Involvement in the European Grid Extension, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/368577


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