Major social changes such as the energy transition in Germany cannot succeed without the involvement of citizens. Broad societal support and increasing participation of the public are crucial for the successful implementation. In many cases, citizens act on their own responsibility – in consumption, decentralised electricity generation, energy-saving measures or political participation. Surveys show that people are certainly willing to get actively involved in the energy transition. With the advancing digitalisation and flexibilisation of the energy system, there are also more and more opportunities for end consumers in households to actively contribute to the energy transition.
From 2016 to 2020, the five model regions of the project "Smart Energy Showcase – Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition" (SINTEG) tested how a complete supply with renewable energies can work. In doing so, they have used various participation mechanisms to demonstrate how citizens can get involved in the energy transition. The findings from this work are secured through synthesis reports for different thematic fields and thus communicated to different target groups. The aim of the synthesis is to develop transferable blueprints. These contain action aids derived from SINTEG results that are suitable for scaling up and transferring to concrete use cases of the energy transition. Together with the consulting firm ifok GmbH, the Wuppertal Institute researchers are compiling the SINTEG results for the synthesis field "Participation & Acceptance" and evaluating them.
Thomas Götz, Co-Head of the Energy Policy Research Unit at the Wuppertal Institute, emphasises: "The SINTEG results clearly show that although there is a broad consensus on the energy transition in general among the population, this is not necessarily accompanied by approval of concrete measures. In addition, the energy transition is becoming increasingly complex, less accessible to broad sections of the population and often more difficult to communicate. Therefore, exchange and dialogue with broad social groups as well as low-threshold offers for participation are needed as 'door openers'." The SINTEG results therefore address various aspects, such as the individual motivations of citizens to participate in the energy transition, their intrinsic interests (e.g. in technology when using renewable energies) and their willingness to actually act. The aim of the synthesis of results is to identify tailor-made approaches and formats for the constructive involvement and integration of citizens in the energy transition according to these prerequisites.
The final report of the SINTEG synthesis is currently being prepared. However, the first key points and important results will be made available to the interested public in advance. A first blueprint in the synthesis field "Participation and Acceptance", which deals with "Participation Opportunities for Uninvolved Parties", can now be accessed via the SINTEG project website.