‘Fail or Future: is the energy transition failing because of communication?’

The event organized by the Renewable Energies Hamburg Cluster and the Northern German Real-World Laboratory aimed to develop ideas on how to better support the transformation towards renewable energies. The focus was on technology, regulation, and media work. Hanna Naoumis participated as a representative of cruh21.


Germany has set the ambitious goal of becoming climate neutral by 2045. To achieve this goal, the expansion rate of renewable energies must be tripled compared to 2021. This requires significant individual and collective efforts towards a sustainability transformation. Although surveys show broad support for the energy transition, enthusiasm often wanes when it comes to practical implementation.

Acceptance and Implementation Issues

Keynote speeches by experts and the subsequent sessions highlighted that the acceptance of renewable energies is crucial for the success of the energy transition. Acceptance issues often arise from a lack of communication and insufficient public involvement in the planning processes. Conflicts, such as the construction of new power lines, exemplify these challenges: Despite the recognition of the necessity of such projects, resistance remains high when the public is not adequately engaged.

Technical and Regulatory Challenges

In addition to acceptance, technical and regulatory obstacles were discussed. It was emphasized that the successful implementation of the energy transition can be supported by good planning and transparent communication. The “Grid Development Plan 2045” (NEP) and the concept of a “climate-neutral grid” by 2045 were presented as key elements to drive decarbonization.

Communication as the Key

A central point of discussion was the role of communication. It was argued that the energy transition should not fail due to communication issues but rather be promoted through effective communication strategies. Successful communication strategies should establish social norms, reduce psychological distance, and emphasize gains rather than losses. Methods such as “World Cafés,” mobile exhibitions, and mapping workshops can help create acceptance and actively involve the public.

Successes and Challenges

Various sessions showcased best-practice examples where applications of renewable energies were successfully implemented in traditionally challenging environments. These success stories offer valuable insights and inspiration for future projects. Participants developed measures to replicate such successes in other projects and achieve long-term acceptance.

Conclusion and Outlook

The conference concluded with the realization that both technical and communicative aspects must be equally considered for a successful energy transition. The exchange between theorists and practitioners provided new perspectives and concrete approaches to improving acceptance and the implementation of renewable energy projects. It is crucial to consider the entire society as well as local specifics.

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