The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy attaches much importance to public participation in the debate on the grid expansion. The Ministry therefore promotes the initiative for a citizens' dialogue on the electricity grid, which was launched today with a kick-off event in Berlin.

Uwe Beckmeyer, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, said: "The grid expansion will only succeed if all stakeholders join forces. As a neutral forum, the "citizens' dialogue on the electricity grid" provides the opportunity for an open, transparent dialogue between equals. Local residents should be encouraged to present their ideas and proposals in the planning and authorisation procedures. This is how we want to convince citizens of our common project of the energy transition."

Citizens' bureaus in selected regions will in the future serve as permanent contact points. The first bureau will open on 22 May 2015 in the county of Osnabrück (Quakenbrück). Besides this, a mobile citizens' bureau will be on the road all around Germany as from the end of May. The first local events in the context of the initiative will take place in June. The events provide information on the participation possibilities in the planning and authorisation procedures and the current status of planning and on technologies and alternatives.

Dr. Peter Ahmels, head of the "citizens' dialogue on the electricity grid", said: "It is crucial for the success of the energy transition to create a forum for discussions and to explain the need for the grid expansion. In this context, the citizens' dialogue on the electricity grid serves as an information broker."

The information on grid expansion projects in all regions of Germany provided online at www.buergerdialog-stromnetz.de is easily accessible and comprehensible.

The online citizens' bureau answers questions from persons concerned and other interested parties. Information can also be received via twitter (@stromnetzdialog). Chats with experts will in the future facilitate a direct exchange of views on specific issues.

You can find out more about current German energy policy in the fortnightly Newsletter "Energiewende direkt".