Sustainability Report 2016

Dialogue with Stakeholders

Transparent and acceptance-promoting dialogue with our stakeholders in grid development and enhancement of existing grid capacity is very im-portant to us. Beyond this, we support a variety of projects in our grid area that foster culture and sports, protect nature and biodiversity, or aide social initiatives, the well-being and support of children and adolescents being a special concern at 50Hertz. We are convinced that we can best apply our social commitment through close cooperation with non-governmental organisations and partners from the realms of culture, economy and science.

At 50Hertz, we have established clear management and organisational structures for the implementation of our many social activities. Our Communications/Public Affairs department is responsible for our engagement. The department coordinates with the Executive Board to set the goals, coordinate the activities and examine inquiries for worthy projects. Our Guideline for Donations and Sponsoring defines our general support principles, assessment criteria and the organisational process transparently and consistently, and is binding for all employees. When granting dona-tions and sponsoring support, we always ascertain that the cause is commensurate with our cor-porate values, is geared toward sustainability and offers true added value for our society and the public. We are currently working on a concept for focusing even more on the common good through corporate volunteering activities, sponsoring and pro-bono projects. 

Early Stakeholder Engagement

Successfully implementing the energy transition requires expanding the extra-high-voltage grids. In regions where existing capacity has to be enhanced or new lines have to be built, citizens and particular stakeholders have a great need for information. We are especially concerned with maintaining open and transparent dialogue with the public in order to involve citizens early, thereby improving the projects and laying the foundation for acceptance.

The overarching goal of our proactive information policy and dialogue is always to involve all affected stakeholders in our development of new line routes and make it as transparent and comprehensible as possible. Our conversations with the affected parties are conducted according to clearly defined requirements, in set formats and by means of a standardised “tool kit”. Communities affected by grid expansion are involved in the planning from day one – even before start of the formal approval process. We affirmed this process together with communal umbrella organisations in a position paper published in 2015.

The 50Hertz-Dialogmobil

We initiate dialogue with our stakeholders during the very early planning phases. This includes consultations on grid development plans as well as grid enhancement and expansion projects. Among other initiatives, we shape dialogue with the following activities: information markets, round tables, brochures on specific topics, citizensʼ hotlines or our so-called Dialogmobil. Beyond that, our Corporate Guideline and our Approval Roadmap define the timelines and interplay of project planning, approval, public involvement and stakeholder management.

We first deployed the Dialogmobil in 2014 in Berlin and Brandenburg for the 380 kV overhead line Bertikow-Pasewalk project. In light of the posi-tive reaction, the Dialogmobil is now regularly on the road as a rolling citizensʼ centre facilitating communication in the grid development regions. In 2016, we decided to buy our own Dialogmobil. The 50Hertz-Dialogmobil has logged 3,210 kilometres in our control area since May 2016 to enable direct contact with the population even in smaller towns, in market squares, in front of town halls and community centres. We also dis-cussed the planned aisle corridor in 24 conferences with public interest agencies and political, economic and scientific representatives, as well as more than 70 direct roundtable discussions with districts, ministries and other public authorities.


Projektrealisierung einer Freileitung Project Implementation of an overhead line

Visualisation of our aisle projects

In the early phases of stakeholder engagement, we also use video sequences and graphics to visualise our aisle projects. These range from standardised images and miniatures to project-specific models, videos and computer simulations that illustrate the entire planning scope with the rough corridor, existing aisle and existing and alternative corridors in different sequences. We use these visualisation techniques extensively in our research and development project compactLine, which will be completed in 2018, in addition to holding workshops with our stakeholders and evaluating the acceptance of our innovative mast design.

As part of early stakeholder engagement in our SuedOstLink, one of the most important power connections between the northern and southern parts of Germany in the energy transition, 50Hertz conducted a wide range of events and discussions with over 800 stakeholders before submitting our aisle suggestions. During these encounters, we received 665 suggestions, 560 of which were relevant for our planning process. As a result, we initiated nine changes to existing aisle corridor segments and two new segments in the 50Hertz planning portion.

To allow us to measure the effect, quality and success of our early stakeholder engagement, we are currently developing an indicatorbased evaluation system. It involves both qualitative factors like the quality of relationships with individual stakeholder groups, as well as quantitative data such as the number of planning-relevant suggestions or the media resonance of a project.

As a responsible transmission system operator, we regularly host delegations of visitors from around the world. In 2016, we welcomed 951 visitors in our Transmission Control Centre in Neuenhagen and at the 50Hertz Netzquartier building in Berlin. They came to learn about our experiences with the secure integration of large amounts of renewable energies into the transmission system and about the development of the electricity market. Around 400 of our guests came from foreign countries near and far: the USA, Mexico, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Ghana, India and China.

Computer simulation of alternative corridor segments