The German Energiewende (Energy Transition) poses major challenges to all parties involved. Public participation can contribute to the understanding of these challenges and their positive resolution. It is not suitable, however, to expect public acceptance for predetermined solutions. Participation presupposes openness about options. If this does not exist, one can resort to methods of communication that attempt to convince affected citizens of the necessity of adopting a planned measure. Yet if there is room for choosing among options, participation may create a foundation for broad acceptance of a jointly determined solution to pressing problems. Participative procedures that follow the model of analytic-deliberative discourse, by integrating scientific expertise with ethical and moral consideration, are particularly promising. A forward-looking model is drawn from the use of both online and traditional face-to-face methods of interaction, combining the advantages of both methods. An inclusive planning culture based on cooperation and integration is a promising way to achieve fair and effective implementation of the Energiewende.
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Schweizer, P.-J., Renn, O., Köck, W., Bovet, J., Benighaus, C., Scheel, O., & Schröter, R. (2016). Public participation for infrastructure planning in the context of the German “Energiewende”. Utilities Policy, 43(Part B), 206-209. doi:10.1016/j.jup.2014.07.005.
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