Overline: Edited Volume
Headline: Involving the Public in Energy Transitions: Guidance for International Actors

Energy policy debates tend to revolve around the technical feasibility of shifting from fossil to renewable energies. But energy policy measures will only be successfully anchored in society, and lifestyle changes sustained, if they are supported by broad swathes of the population. Edited by IASS Director Ortwin Renn and researchers from the Kopernikus project E-Navi, “The Role of Public Participation in Energy Transitions” offers theoretical insights as well as practical examples of how participation processes can succeed.

Broad public acceptance is vital to the success of energy transitions.
Broad public acceptance is vital to the success of energy transitions. Shutterstock/Timon Goertz

The book’s authors analyse and compare the different approaches to citizen participation that have been taken in Germany’s Energiewende. They discuss the challenges of inclusive participation in complex energy policymaking, and provide conceptual foundations for the empirical case studies that constitute the second part of the book. The case studies focus on energy consumption, energy efficiency, and the integration of renewable energies into the energy system. The book is aimed primarily at decision-makers in politics and the energy industry, urban planners, participation specialists, and international researchers in the field of energy planning and policymaking.

Although the projects presented are not a panacea, many concepts and approaches are transferable to similar situations in Germany and other countries. Common to all of them is the realisation that energy policy is embedded in a system where technical, economic, political and social factors interact. As Ortwin Renn explains, “The Energiewende can only be successfully implemented if technical solutions are underpinned by economically viable business models, regulatory frameworks that support innovation, and broad public acceptance, particularly in the regions most affected by infrastructural changes. This is the case not only in Germany, but in practically every country with a democratic political culture.” 

Renn, O., Ulmer, F., Deckert, A. (Eds.)(2020): The role of public participation in energy transitions, Cambridge, Mass. : Academic Press, 248 p.