Developing programmes on how to include groups in society and to take account of different values in decision making on regional energy strategies.


The project focusses on effective public participation in decision making and public acceptability of sustainable energy transition. Firstly, we will study how provinces, municipalities, and other public and private organisations can optimise public participation procedures to include different societal groups and to take account of different values in decision making. Secondly, we will study how such public participation practices early in the decision-making process influence public acceptability of local energy projects. We will develop a good-practice guide with strategies and tools to optimise public participation to increase public acceptability of energy projects and to accelerate sustainable energy transition. 

This research proposal builds on and extends our current profound work on public participation in decision making. Notably, Perlaviciute and Squintani have established the knowledge co-creation and exchange platform “Like!Me Living-lab” to study how to organise public participation to reach qualitatively better and more socially acceptable decisions (see Excellence research team, p. 16). Currently, the Province of Groningen and municipalities in Groningen, Royal HaskoningDHV(RHDHV), and the New Energy Coalition (NEC) are partners in the Like!Me Living-lab. Our joint research has identified key challenges for optimizing public participation, setting the research agenda on this topic.  This proposed research project will target these key challenges, augment our research on public participation, and engage new partners in our collaborations on this topic. The collaboration in the Like!Me Living-lab will continue after this project has ended, thereby ensuring durability of this important research. 


Start date: 01 May 2020
End date: 01 May 2024


We will develop programmes how to include different groups in society and to take account of different values indecision making on regional energy strategies. Subsequently, we will study the extent to which such public participation programmes increase public acceptability of local energy projects, such as wind parks.

How can residents of the Dutch provinces of Groningen and Zuid-Holland be involved in decision-making on regional energy strategies? This question is central to the new research project Renewable Energy Strategies: Effective Public Engagement in Climate Policy and Energy Transition (RESPECT) of the University of Groningen and New Energy Coalition.

Public resistance can be a serious barrier for implementing renewable energy projects, such as wind parks. Goda Perlaviciute from the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences and Lorenzo Squintani from the Faculty of Law study whether and how engaging people in decision-making may lead to better and more acceptable energy projects. To study real-life public participation practices, Perlaviciute and Squintani have established the Like!Me Living Lab with multiple societal partners.

Our role

Knowledge valorisation and dissemination:
1.facilitate knowledge co-creation and exchange within the consortium; 2. facilitate science communication outside the consortium; 3. co-develop with the research team the good-practice guide;4. disseminate the good-practice guide in their network; 5. Incorporate the good-practice guide in graduate and post-graduate energy education.

New Energy Coalition will be involved in developing a good-practice guide and connect the research team to scholars from other disciplines working on energy-related topics, other provinces who are willing to conduct similar research, energy companies and energy network operators. By doing so, New Energy Coalition will continually disseminate knowledge from this project with a wide range of stakeholders in the sustainable energy transition.


University of Groningen, Royal Haskoning RHDHV, Netherlands Wind Energy Association (NWEA), Groninger Energie Koepel (GREK), The Netherlands Institute for Social Research [Dutch: Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau] (SCP), Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment [Dutch: Rijksintituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu] (RIVM), The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS), HanzeUniversity of Applied Sciences (HUAS), The provinces of Groningen and South Holland, Sustainable Society (SuSo), University of Groningen (RUG)


Dirk Kuiken is involved in this project from our organisation. If you have any questions regarding the project, feel free to contact us.