Analysis and enhancement of the processes of stakeholders engagement and participation
In work package 5 we will develop a theoretical framework based upon stakeholder values and beliefs that will allow us to better design stakeholder engagement processes. Within this framework, emphasis is given to the different meanings actors (e.g., a single person affected by a transmission line, a NGO, a TSO, etc.) attribute to the same issue throughout a participation and engagement process. The overall framework is built on the concept of belief systems, distinguishing between different levels of beliefs, ranging from the operational and somewhat flexible secondary beliefs (e.g., about a particular policy instrument) to more abstract and rather rigid policy and core beliefs (e.g., concerning the desirability of an energy system structure, or even political and ideological convictions). This task will deliver a theoretical understanding of why certain actors act like they do, by building a framework that includes the full range of concerns, from the project- and process-specific to the high-level, society-wide political objectives, including procedural issues within the permission processes.
As part of the work package we will develop a checklist for the design of participation processes. The checklist will translate the theoretical insights from this work package and the empirical findings from work packages 2, 3 and 4 into practical recommendations for the design of the permission process and its public engagement components. We will then design a decision tree to structure the engagement process by addressing the different factors and parameters step by step, in a temporal sequence. The goal is to reduce complexity throughout the engagement process and provides a clear structure, which can be used as a guide for project developers. The final product of this work package will be a handbook of guidelines on how to better design the communication and participation process in order to increase public acceptance of transmission grid projects.