Acceptability

The Energiewende is a project that spans all walks of society and enjoys broad popular support. For its continued success, this general acceptance is just as important as the acceptance of individual measures.

The fundamental goal of the Energiewende is to meet at least 80 percent of Germany’s power needs using sun, wind and other renewables by 2050. The common characteristic of these technologies is that they collect energy – from the movement of wind and rays of sun – in a dispersed and diluted form, bundle this together and transmit it to consumers. Therefore a widely distributed, technical infrastructure, comprised of production plants, power lines and distribution networks is necessary. These will change our environment, just as other societal developments (such as cars) have done.

At the same time, infrastructure can only be developed if most people are behind it, which in turn contributes to the general acceptance of the Energiewende.

How to ensure social justice for those affected by such Energiewende-related infrastructure development is just one area of acceptance we are grappling with.

Acceptance will not be achieved sustainably by awarding certain groups economic privileges. One way to address this issue could be to reduce barriers to participation in the electricity market for small, local actors, and to avoid erecting new ones. A further method would be to design planning processes, for example when creating networks, which involve citizens in the early stages, so they can contribute their ideas effectively.

Costs are also important for acceptance. One way to help maintain a broad social consensus for the Energiewende is to efficiently revamp the power system while keeping power prices steady at affordable levels over the long term.

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Core results

  1. 1

    From 2019, a “Lusatia Structural Change Fund” should be established within Germany’s federal budget.

    The aim of the fund would be to strengthen the region’s economic attractiveness and its desirability as a place to live. It should help to: preserve the region’s industrial character, strengthen innovation among its businesses, support its academic institutions, equip it with an up-to-date transport network and digital infrastructure, and foster a lively civil society that retains local residents while also attracting new ones.

  2. 2

    The Lusatia Fund should be endowed with 100 million euros per year for 15 years, to be divided equally between four key pillars: business development, academia, infrastructure, and civil society.

    In each of these areas, it should be possible to use the available funds in a flexible manner (i.e. to shift funding between areas), and funds that are not withdrawn should not expire (i.e. funding should be transferable to subsequent years).

  3. 3

    Regional stakeholders from the spheres of business, academia, politics, and civil society should play a key role in awarding of funds.

    The federal government should only play a monitoring and coordinating role, as part of a steering committee; decisions on funding priorities should be made by stakeholders from the region.

  4. 4

    The funds assigned to the civil society pillar should be administered by a new “Lusatia Future Foundation.”

    Raising the attractiveness of a region means more than just promoting its economy, academic institutions and infrastructure. Ultimately, the vibrancy of a place depends on art, culture, lived traditions and the quality of civil society. These factors require ongoing support, which can be guaranteed in the short term through the Structural Change Fund and in the long term through developing a foundation with a strong endowment.

From study : A Future for Lusatia

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