Slider Umbau der Stromnetze - Englisch

Germanwatch engages in the European project "BESTGRID" to ensure fair public participation and transparency when planning the electricity grid expansion. 

BESTGRID – testing better practices

Modernising and expanding the electricity grid is a crucial building block to enable a successful transition of Europe's energy system from fossil fuel dependence towards renewable energy.  In the near future, Europe's low-carbon and sustainable power supply will require a stable electricity grid that fits to the weather susceptible wind- and solar energy production and furthermore, connects the new and decentralized location of the facilities to the urban agglomeration and consumption areas.

However, planning and realizing grid development is often challenging due to local opposition and complex authorization procedures. Within the process of  planning new electrical power lines, stakeholders and residents often demand answers to questions such as, "Is this power line necessary?",  "Are there any risks involved?", "Is it possible to use underground cables instead of overhead lines?" and "Can the line be placed in a different location?". The answers to questions like these will never fully satisfy the needs and interests of the various different people affected. Despite these challenges, an open and transparent approach and the integration of local stakeholders and those affected will lead to a long-term improvement of grid development processes. This is why Germanwatch is working together with transmission system operators, European environmental organizations and the research institute IIASA in order to develop innovative methods for grid development.

Germanwatch advises network operators with their conception of action plans and monitors the way in which these plans are set into motion by network providers as well as the authorities in order to give feedback to the transmission system operators. We have summarised the analyses, impressions and evaluation of our experiences from the BESTGRID pilot projects in the >> handbook "Public Participation & Transparency in Power Grid Planning Learnings and Recommendations from the BESTGRID Project".

bestgrid karte

BESTGRID pilot projects focus on different key aspects

  • UK, Belgium: NemoLink project, AC cable from 400kV Richborough substation in south-east England to DC converter station on the coast, DC undersea cable between DC converter stations on English and Belgian coasts, length: ~ 120km, AC cable from DC converter station on the Belgian coast to Zeebrugge substation (National Grid NemoLink and Elia). Expected start of operation: 2018.
  • Belgium: Stevin project, 380kV AC line/cable, length: 47km, out of which 12km new overhead line, 10km underground cable, 25km upgrade of existing 220kV line (TSO Elia). Expected start of operation: 2017.
  • Belgium: 150kV AC underground cable project Waterloo-Braine-l’Alleud in a densely populated area near Brussels (TSO Elia); length: 5km. Project put on hold in 2014
  • Germany: SuedLink project, a 500kV DC transmission line from northern to southern Germany (TSOs TenneT and Transnet BW), length: 600/800km. Expected start of oper- ation: 2022.
  • Germany: Project Bertikow-Pasewalk, upgrade of an existing 220kV line by a new 380kV overhead power line in north-east Germany (TSO 50Hertz Transmission), length: 30km. Expected start of operation: 2017.
  • Italy: Test of communication tools for sharing good practice (TSO Terna).


The energy transition requires a restructuring of the energy system and, as a result of decentralisation, also increasing digitalisation to integrate all actors and make them more flexible. However, digitalisation can be shaped and should happen under ecological and social premises. In this paper we present the challenges and evince possible solutions.

The EU energy system is still far from being climate neutral or based on 100 % renewable energies. The currently discussed revision of the guidelines for the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E), which provide the basis for the selection of the so-called Projects of Common Interests (PCIs), has the potential to set a new course.

The argumentation map deals with the currently planned extra-high voltage direct current transmission lines (HVDC) in Germany and, in particular, with the debate as to whether/why HVDCs should be built or not. In this respect, it aims to serve as a clear representation of the various and complex topical arguments and theses, without evaluating them.
The following background paper explains how the blockchain technology works and shows the fields in which it might be applied as well as the opportunities blockchain might provide. Furthermore, it highlights the threats posed by blockchain and the areas in which the technology requires further development. Anyone aiming at making a significant political, economic or technological contribution to this future topic should start addressing blockchain now.
A legal report submitted to the BESTGRID Project
This report describes the planning and licensing process for extra high voltage transmission lines under EU and national law regulatory framework. It is shown that the TEN-E Regulation 347/2013 introduces binding priorities (PCI, Projects of Common Interest) into national planning processes, shifting participation requirements to the EU level. The comparison between the German and the UK system of planning and permitting displays the different approaches: while the regulatory system is much more refined in Germany, granting much access and public participation, the participatory approach in the UK is more open, and access to justice is easier.
Handbook – Part 1
This handbook by Germanwatch highlights new approaches that have been tested by the partners of the European BESTGRID project. Within BESTGRID, Transmission system operators from Belgium, the UK, Italy and Germany have closely cooperated with national and regional non-governmental organisations. Germanwatch has been following the jointly developed good-practice approaches to early and transparent power grid planning and has compiled its findings in this handbook.
Summary Evaluation by WWF and Germanwatch
The "electricity market" White Paper published by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) puts forward practical proposals for implementing key projects in the Federal Government's short-term plan for achieving the energy transition. In general the WWF and Germanwatch view the BMWi's proposed measures as a good basis for the forthcoming debate. If carried through, these measures could form the cornerstone of a credible climate policy. However, the following remarks are limited to the analysis and evaluation of the new climate policy instrument for securing an adequate CO2 reduction contribution by the power sector. Only a short appraisal is given of the other three proposals.

Further Information

Germanwatch is an active member of the European Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI). Within RGI, power grid operators and NGOs join forces to support power grids in Europe for both decentralised and large-scale renewable energy sources:

Project Website BESTGRID: