It's generally agreed that a low-carbon economy is important if we're to combat climate change. One obvious way to do this is to modernize our current power transmission grids so that we can make electricity more secure, affordable and sustainable. However, while this may seem straightforward in theory, in reality things aren't always so simple. New grid projects often face strong opposition by the organizations and communities they affect. When such opposition is added to the lengthy process of obtaining the necessary permits that can last up to 10 years, many of these projects are delayed or even canceled.
Why do people oppose these projects? One of the reasons is that stakeholders—local, regional and national governments, industry, environmental organizations and local residents —often feel their views and concerns aren't being considered. To address the problem, the EU-funded project INSPIRE-GRID created several tools that allow all voices to be heard in the grid expansion planning and approval process. The project's solution for increased stakeholder engagement has the potential to enable better conflict management and an expedited permit process.
The majority of renewable energy is used as a source of electricity.
Tools for information and collaboration
The project team's challenge was to help citizens provide informed opinions on complex matters by finding ways to bridge the information gap between power grid experts and the general public. Their solution to this challenge was to combine methods that facilitate decision-making with state-of-the-art tools that facilitate collaboration between all stakeholders.One of these tools, the geographic information system (GIS) web interface, makes it possible for local residents to visualize a power line's possible routes and submit their views on them. A GIS was used in the planning of Swiss transmission line paths and of a power line transmitting wind-generated energy from the north to the south of Germany.
Other INSPIRE-GRID tools deal with the difficulty of communicating a project's expected benefits, which may not always be easily visible at local level. The project's life-cycle assessment tool helps stakeholders to see the environmental impacts of future power lines. It also explains the reasons why a grid extension may be needed, for example to link renewable energy to the system or to reduce power interruptions and blackouts. Since the project 's end in 2017, such tools have already been used in a real-world environment.
An INSPIRE-GRID (Improved and eNhanced Stakeholders Participation In Reinforcement of Electricity Grid) poster published on the ResearchGate website provides some promising conclusions about stakeholder engagement in future grid expansion projects. They state that "[e]arly, fair and trustworthy involvement of stakeholders can increase acceptance" of new grid projects. They also mention "careful selection of stakeholder engagement methods" and the use of "participatory decision-making methods to generate more inclusive decisions" as important factors to be considered. One thing is for sure, using these methods can only be a positive stepping stone to a more energy-efficient and low-carbon economy.
More Than Meets The Eye With Renewable Energy. Most people assume they have renewable energy all figured out. You’re probably familiar with the typical forms of it, like solar and wind. You’ve probably encountered a whole slew of statistics about the benefits renewable energy has to offer to you and the planet. While this is all useful information, don’t underestimate what renewable energy is and has to offer. There are plenty of surprising facts and statistics for you to learn about. Whether they encourage you to become a Star Energy Partner with us or help you impress your friends at a party, you will find this information useful. Here are a few surprising things about renewable energy.
The future of renewable infrastructure is uncertain without good planning
Since sub-Saharan Africa does not already have a lot of dirty energy supply in place, it makes perfect sense for the region to invest in renewable energy sources. Sub-Saharan Africa has the sunshine that is needed for these projects and the cost of the electricity generated has fallen in recent years.
More information: INSPIRE-GRID project website: www.inspire-grid.eu/
Stakeholder participation in the development of the electricity grid: the INSPIRE-Grid project: www.researchgate.net/publicati … INSPIRE-Grid_projectProvided by CORDIS
Citation: Novel tools bridge the information gap between citizens and electricity grid operators (2019, June 6) retrieved 9 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-tools-bridge-gap-citizens-electricity.html
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Biomass is currently the largest U.S. renewable energy source with more than 200 existing plants providing electricity for 1.5 million American homes.