Workshop: Engaging Civil Society in the Energy Transition – the Role of Grids

Workshop: Engaging Civil Society in the Energy Transition: the Role of Grids

Demand for electricity will increase as we switch away from using fossil fuels, especially in heating and transport. This growth in electricity use will require expanding renewable energy, and improvements to the system that distributes all that electricity: the grid! Without civil society advocating for grid development, as well as investment in renewables, the energy transition will not happen quickly enough!

Our virtual event on 3 November aimed to answer to these two critical questions:

  • What is the role of power grids in the transition to renewable energy?
  • How can civil society drive this change?

What is the story? 

To understand this topic more, please review our 4-page outreach document, which we invite you to share with stakeholders and decision-makers who might need background information on the role of grid development for the shift to a renewables-based system. Scroll down for additional documents and resouces.

Here is a brief explanation of the basics: Wind and solar energy make up ever-larger percentages of global energy sources, and renewable power in general has grown dramatically in recent years. Yet, one major stumbling block is the distribution system for electricity: the grid. A properly developed grid will help balance the fluctuating electricity produced by wind and solar power plants. The transition to renewable energy requires significant grid development in every part of the world.

Grids development, though, happens over long time-scales and is very costly. Governments and large energy companies often manage the exclusive planning process, so without input from civil society, grids expansion plans may not be sufficient for a fast transition to renewables or incorporate perspectives that prioritise environmental and climate goals.

Civil society can influence grid planning decisions, whether from a desire for clean air or to push for climate action. And whether you are in charge of an international non-profit, or a volunteer at the local library, your input is needed to shape grid developments.

What participants learned: 

Participants left with an understanding of the role that scenario planning can play in grid planning efforts and some ideas for how citizens can get involved in their local planning efforts. 

During the event, participants heard from experts from around the world who shared real-world examples of civil society shaping grid planning. The presentation also included an explanation of the role of grids in the energy transition. Finally, participants were invited to join discussions on real-world examples and ask the presenters questions to learn about engaging civil society in the grid planning process.

Event Details

Two nearly identical sessions were held on Tuesday 3 November to accommodate different time zones.

Supporting Documents

PDFs of the speakers’ Presentations:

This event was hosted by REN21, within the context of the PAC Project and with the support of the PAC Consortium. Learn more about the PAC project by visiting the PAC website.