Public Engagement for Energy Infrastructure

Public support for energy transition infrastructure is essential as policy makers look to accelerate renewables permitting, transmission grid upgrades and community-based projects. The work assessed the value for money/effort of citizens involvement in infrastructure development and allow to discover best practices on public engagement for energy infrastructure and provide evidence of effective participatory action. Such elements are necessary to strengthen the governance aspects and the social acceptance of the FitFor55.

IEECP led together with the Renewables Grid Initiative the Users TCP task Public Engagement for Energy Infrastructure which explored the drivers and barriers to participation in energy infrastructure developments and evaluated successful and failed participation actions to develop an evidence-based best practice guidance to effective engagement. From March 2023 to February 2024, in cooperation with country representatives from United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland and Sweden.

User-Centred Energy Systems (UsersTCP) is part of the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme.

The task in a nutshell

Achieving international climate and energy goals will require a rapid and profound transformation of our energy system. Considering this process affects people all over the world, public engagement is therefore crucial to ensure that society’s views, needs and concerns are considered and that a truly just and inclusive energy transition is pursued. To facilitate this, the Engage4Energy project focuses on creating guidance on how public engagement can be promoted within the context of building renewable energy and grid infrastructure. Over the past years and decades, many participation and involvement processes and practices have been developed, but no comprehensive overview of factors for success/failure exists. The Task hoped to start filling this information gap by evaluating past and current participatory actions and drawing lessons for effective engagement including useful formats and degrees of involvement. The researchers behind this task aimed to provide transferable and actionable guidance for future engagement activities done by project developers and public authorities. Throughout the project, they have involved stakeholders, specifically in the form of interviews and workshop participation.

Based on their inputs as well as a comprehensive literature analysis and the assessment of 98 cases, an interactive guide for meaningful engagement in energy infrastructure has been developed. (see tool below)

This also led to the provision of policy-relevant insights on effective engagement of the public in energy infrastructure developments – all with the overall aim of speeding up and improving public acceptance for the energy transition:

Featured publications

May 23, 2024
Renewables Consumers and behavioural change

How to meaningfully engage the public in energy infrastructure projects

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Feb 28, 2024
Renewables Consumers and behavioural change

Impact assessment of case studies - Assessing the impacts of public engagement in energy infrastructure projects

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Nov 29, 2023
Energy communities Capacity building Implementing energy and climate measures at local level

Report and factsheet - Drivers and barriers of public engagement in energy infrastructure

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Based on year-long research, including methodologies on literature review, the assessment of 98 cases, interviews with experienced professionals and exchanges with experts, RG...

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