in the spotlight

Participation: Fair and transparent planning of major projects

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Large infrastructure projects such as transport networks, waste management facilities and power generation plants often result in significant landscape change. The German energy transition (Energiewende) demonstrates this very clearly: wind and solar electricity production has to be further expanded, existing electricity transmission networks upgraded or new ones built, and energy storage capacities increased.

Although there is generally a high level of support for the energy transition, for example, specific projects such as wind farms and power lines often encounter substantial opposition from local communities. This is not surprising, for these projects often create local challenges which weigh against the benefits to society as a whole.

If provision is made for the maximum feasible level of citizen engagement, this opens up opportunities to improve democratic decision- and policy-making while reducing the potential for conflict. However, it also creates new challenges that must be managed, such as the need to comply with legislation while meeting expectations that stakeholders will have a say.