Community dialogue for SuedLink – 22 local info-marts in 5 German federal states

The SuedLink DC line, jointly planned by TenneT and TransnetBW, is a central infrastructure project of the German energy transition. Concerns and criticism were already expressed in local communities as soon as the preliminary plans were announced. As the responsible TSO, TenneT responded quickly and comprehensively at the local level: with communal info-marts, including direct dialogue and public participation, along the entire proposed transmission corridor. From March to June 2014 an expert team of 15-20 people presented the project personally at 22 communal info-marts in 5 German federal states. Around 300 visitors per event were informed about the corridor planning in the respective regions; fruitful discussions were held to gain valuable local knowledge and to develop alternative corridor options. Visitors were invited to mark their suggestions for alternatives directly into regional large-scale maps and to fill in feedback forms directly on-site together with the expert team.

Over 1,600 queries and alternative corridor options were submitted thus far – not only during the info-marts but also via other communication channels, such as a hotline, online participation form or via mailings. All suggestions are currently being reviewed internally and integrated in the planning where possible. Additionally, TenneT is committed to answer all queries personally and all comments will be documented and submitted to the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) as the competent authority.

The communal info-marts will be evaluated by IIASA as visitors were invited to provide feedback on the event format. Without pre-empting the results of this evaluation, the direct response of citizens and local stakeholders alike was very positive as the interesting, authentic information and the early involvement in the planning process are regarded beneficial. This early and informal project dialogue already contributed to improved planning. Therefore, TenneT will arrange communal info-marts also in the next project phases.