Europe and Central Asia


  • The BESTGRID project started at the beginning of 2013. Four pilot projects for renewables grid expansion are being developed and implemented within 27 months. During the project new approaches to increase public acceptance and to speed up permitting procedures, while respecting or surpassing standards for environmental protection, are being tested.

    The BESTGRID consortium brings together grid operators (National Grid, Elia, TenneT, 50Hertz and Terna) and non-governmental organisations (BirdLife Europe and Germanwatch) from across Europe to co-operate in designing, implementing and evaluating the pilot projects in Germany, Belgium and the UK. The renowned International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA), accompanies the project, monitoring and evaluating the success of the tested approaches.

    The BESTGRID project disseminates the lessons learned widely across Europe and establishes an intensive exchange of best practices. Moreover, two handbooks have been produced and disseminated, focusing on “Participation and Transparency” and “Protecting Nature” in grid development projects.

    A special focus of the dissemination is on countries where ‘Projects of Common Interest’ are being developed, ensuring that best practices are applied here. The BESTGRID project aims to be a key milestone towards implementing the EU Regulation on trans-European energy infrastructure which has been adopted by the European Parliament and Council.

    BESTGRID Partners: 50Hertz, BirdLife Europe, Elia, Germanwatch, IIASA, National Grid, TenneT, Terna and Renewables Grid Initiative (co-ordinator).

    BirdLife Europe has been responsible for the publication of the second part of the two-part handbook.

    ·         Protecting Nature in Power Grid Planning

    The handbook aims to ensure transmission grid development contributes to protecting nature, whilst also allowing for the sustainable development of our energy systems.

    It also aims to explain grid planning and the challenges of building support for the developments needed. This includes improving engagement with stakeholders and the public and at an earlier stage.

    The handbook is available to download in English here, in French here and in German here.

    To download Part1 of the Handbook (and other relevant BESTGRID documents), please visit the main BESTGRID website at:


    BESTGRID has 3 overriding objectives:

    • to improve acceptance for electricity grids by increasing transparency and applying best practices in participation
    • to speed up permitting procedures while proactively addressing or even going beyond environmental protection standards
    • to support the implementation of best practices in permitting procedures for “projects of common interest”


    The project partners aim to achieve these objectives through the following activities:

    Pilot projects: new approaches are developed with close co-operation between NGOs, TSOs and a research institute and are tested in three pilot projects. Experiences will be evaluated. In the UK, lessons from an ongoing project will be used to improve National Grid’s approach in designing stakeholder engagement processes.

    Dissemination: All lessons learned are widely spread across Europe through communication measures, such as workshops, a website, bilateral meetings, newsletters, and two handbooks on environmental impacts and public participation.

    Best practice exchange: Terna will test a set of best practice exchange tools. The transferability of selected best practices will be tested in a set of workshops.

    Capacity building & guidance: BirdLife is organising training events for NGOs on successful and constructive engagement with grid development procedures and projects, as well as roundtables between NGOs and authorities in Central and Eastern Europe. Towards the end of BESTGRID, BirdLife and Germanwatch are compiling handbooks, one focusing on “Participation and Transparency”, the other on “Protecting Nature”.

    Scientific monitoring: The research institute IIASA is evaluating the pilot projects from a scientific perspective. It will analyse the action implemented throughout the pilots by applying a framework of guiding principles and collecting data. In addition, it will identify the potential of different actions taken to achieve acceptability and the conditions that are necessary for their successful application.


Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.