Headline: Energiewende-Konflikte und Populismus: Zur Rolle lokaler Akteure

What role do various actors play within conflicts relating to the energy transition? To what extent do specific constellations of actors need to be considered in order to identify adequate conflict resolution strategies? Which views, interests and notions of justice held by stakeholders and the wider public need to be taken into account? The findings of a nationwide comparative case analysis conducted as part of the DEMOKON research project indicate that, while some superficial similarities exist, the spectrum of conflicts relating to the German energy transition is highly diverse and actors’ preferences should be considered and carefully weighed in each individual case. This research shows that recognition, procedural, and distributive justice all play an important role here. Representatives of affected communities must actively engage with conflicts and develop strategies as passivity is unlikely to deliver positive outcomes. The more opportunities for participation that are available and the more that stakeholders are able to engage with the decision-making processes, the better the outcome. However, this is not easily achieved in many cases; the polarization of supporters and opponents is the rule rather than the exception. Neutral actors with the ability to mediate in polarized conflicts are an important asset. Local characteristics should be carefully considered in discourse (e.g., a forest affected by a wind power project). Local identities are often based on a sense of place and a sense of home. Local communities can respond sensitively when these values are disregarded. Highly sensitive approaches are needed to address conflicts arising in connection with affected sites and prized assets. At best, these should provide compensation and other benefits to the community (e.g. investment in public facilities and infrastructure, local electricity tariffs, concessions) along with opportunities for participation and consultation as well as financial participation (community energy / ownership) in order to mitigate possible adverse effects, disadvantages, and inequalities.

Publication Year
Publication Type
RIFS Studies

Radtke, J. (2023). Energiewende-Konflikte und Populismus: Zur Rolle lokaler Akteure. RIFS Study, Juli 2023.

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