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26 Feb 2021, 12:17
Charlotte Nijhuis

German citizens want to participate in the energy transition – report

Clean Energy Wire / Tagesspiegel Background

German citizens want to participate in the energy transition and see solutions on the local level, according to the first results of the energy transition research project Ariadne by the ministry of education and research, evaluated among others by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the strategy consultancy Ifok. For the project, 88 German citizens were randomly selected and invited to online focus groups to talk about their values and concerns about the energy transition. "What the participants emphasized again and again was a sense of responsibility. There is a desire to participate in the energy transition, rather than it being something that is forced on citizens,” Arwen Colell, co-author of the report and policy analyst at MCC Berlin, told Tagesspiegel Background. This includes both the will to produce renewable electricity locally themselves, for example as part of an energy cooperative, and the desire to be involved in decision-making, Colell explained. When it comes to the mobility transition, however, citizens emphasized the inadequacy of existing infrastructure and the responsibility of politics to create conditions that would make the switch from cars to public transport more attractive, the report says. The question of ‘winners and losers’ of the energy transition was also a central topic in the discussions. The distribution of the benefits and burdens of the transition is currently often perceived as unfair: between regions, between groups of actors and with regard to the price of electricity, according to the report. “The fact that the question of winners and losers was so present shows how important it is to seek dialogue with the population," Colell said.

The Ariadne project is expected to run until 2023 under the leadership of the PIK. In later sessions, topics to be discussed are the expansion of renewable energies, Germany's climate protection package and national hydrogen strategy, the EU's new climate target, and other aspects of the heat, transport and industrial transition, Tagesspiegel Background writes.

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