The public interest in grid development has increased dramatically since the beginning of the energy transition. Especially those citizens who are affected by the expansion and conversion of the transmission system in their own direct environment want to know the exact course of a line construction project. For that reason, 50Hertz makes a particular effort to answer any questions that might pop up and meet the demand for dialogue concerning the project. Here you can find information:
Line construction projects are very time-consuming. The planning and realisation times are currently between five and ten years. That is why it is not easy for citizens as well as for the cities and towns involved or institutions such as environmental associations to stay up to date. Line construction projects concern technical matters that have to be tested and approved in a complex legal procedure.
This is 50Hertz's motivation to
The participation opportunities are part of an official public participation procedure and an informal public dialogue initiated by 50Hertz.
For the construction of high-voltage transmission lines, transmission system operator 50Hertz has to submit legal applications to state and/or federal authorities. A number of laws and regulations apply that also provide the participation options for affected citizens. These include the federal and state administrative proceeding acts, the federal and state spatial planning laws, the Federal Immissions Control Act and various laws on environmental protection.
In its grid development plan, the Federal Network Agency already confirms all measures required to ensure the energy supply, taking into account the results from participation by the authorities and the public. For most line construction projects that are currently being realised by 50Hertz, the Energy Act (EnWG) and the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act (NABEG) also contain important regulations on formal participation. The NABEG from 2011 arranges the public participation for all projects involving more than one federated state.
One example is the South-East DC Passage (Project no. 5 in the Federal Requirement Plan Act). The Power Grid Expansion Act (EnLAG) from 2009 lists a series of line construction projects for which formal public participation is implemented in accordance with state regulations and the general administrative proceeding law. One example for this is the 380-kV Nordring Berlin project. The EnWG contains the requirements for formal public participation for all other procedures and is also consulted in addition to both previously mentioned types of procedure. In all else, the measures of the administrative proceedings act (VwVfG) are to be consulted.
Due to the greater importance of public participation, the NABEG contains formal and elaborate regulations for all phases of the approval process. The first phase is the federal sectoral planning, involving the search for a corridor for the line to be constructed in accordance with the principles of spatial planning. In the scope of the public project conferences during federal sectoral planning, each citizen has the opportunity to express their opinion on the project plans. After the conference, in which citizens can participate in addition to environmental associations, state authorities and other offices responsible for public policy, the planning documents are made available for public consultation - both at the office of the Federal Network Agency in Berlin and locally, often in the town or city halls. They are also published online at the same time. Citizens can then take a position on the planned corridors in writing within one month. The Federal Network Agency collects all remarks that were received in time and processes them at a public hearing. The decision of the federal sectoral planning is made available for consultation and published online. The planning approval proceedings follow the federal sectoral planning. Here too, there is a formal participation opportunity following the same design. During the project conference, which is open to all, the application is discussed to determine the scope of survey.
The planning documents, which now contain the specific route, are made available for public consultation. Again, citizens, environmental associations and offices responsible for public policy can take a position and present their wishes one last time at a hearing. The planning approval decision is made available for consultation and published online. It is on this basis that affected parties acquire the right to lodge an Appeal.
In case of line construction projects at the state level, the search for a route corridor follows the regional planning procedure. This procedure does not allow direct participation by citizens. However, environmental associations, municipalities and other offices responsible for public policy are involved, and these can pass on any citizen input.
In the subsequent planning approval proceedings, the principles of public notice and public disclosure of the documents apply again. At this stage, directly affected citizens can present their objections, which are often discussed one last time during a hearing. The hearing and the public notice are not obligatory under the EnWG, but are common practice nevertheless.
As the project developer, 50Hertz ensures informal public participation of its own volition. In order to avoid confusion with formal public participation in the scope of the approval procedure, 50Hertz and the other transmission system operators often use the term "public dialogue". Public dialogue is intended to support the formal procedure
50Hertz therefore takes many actions to inform citizens when the planning documents will be made publicly available, for instance on the website of the line project. A large number of public meetings also took place at 50Hertz's initiative to inform citizens and discuss the planning stage. 50Hertz is also willing to present the planning in detail if invited to do so by municipalities or action groups.
Public dialogue builds on 50Hertz's own experiences, not on legal stipulations. This distinction is important to 50Hertz as a project developer's public dialogue ends where formal public participation begins. The state and federal authorities see to it that their legal procedure takes place correctly. As such, both ways to involve citizens, namely the public participation procedure and the public dialogue, have their own strong points: the public participation procedure is part of the constitutional, formally enforceable course of the procedure, whereas the public dialogue can address unanswered questions and information from citizens in a flexible manner.
For the public dialogue measures, 50Hertz consults a large number of discussion partners. It is imperative to take into account as many interests as possible within this approach. The objective is to develop good practices for public dialogue. If the public dialogue would not ensure a general social understanding of important and justified measures, it would be much more difficult for 50Hertz to take into account citizens' interests during project planning.
50Hertz owes a large group of people and institutes for the public dialogue approach it applies today, which they helped create through discussion and advice. Some of these are expressly mentioned here:
It is worth looking up additional information on public participation and public dialogue provided by these institutions and companies.
Renewables Grid Initiative
TenneT TSO B.V.
Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.
Forum for integration of renewable energy
The Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Brandenburg
Association of German Cities
Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund