The EU-funded BESTGRID project works towards modernizing and expanding the current European electricity grid for the integration of a growing share of electricity from renewable sources.

(c) BESTGRID project

(c) BESTGRID project


Modernizing and expanding the European electricity grid is an imperative building block to enable the transition of Europe’s energy system from fossil fuel dependence towards renewable energy. However, planning and realizing grid development projects is often difficult and time consuming due to local opposition, complex permitting procedures and the challenges of minimizing impacts on nature and host communities.

Launched in April 2013, the BESTGRID project tackles these problems by approaching current European grid development projects in innovative ways. BESTGRID derives its distinct significance from close cooperation between environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and transmission system operators (TSOs) from the UK, Belgium and Germany. They will work together during the planning as well as the implementation phases and aim at improving local public acceptance for grid development processes, speeding up permitting procedures while proactively addressing or even surpassing environmental protection standards, and encouraging the implementation of constructive public engagement in permitting procedures for European “projects of common interest.” By sharing their knowledge and comparing experiences, partners will get a more rounded understanding of how to better implement grid expansion projects.

In practice, this means that four pilot projects will be carried out throughout the project’s life span from April 2013 until September 2015. Three of these pilot projects will focus on designing and testing new activities, while the fourth one will have a stronger focus on evaluating activities that have already been developed and implemented in order to derive insights for future improvement.

The BESTGRID consortium consists of nine partners: two NGOs (BirdLife Europe and Germanwatch), five TSOs (50Hertz, Elia, National Grid, TenneT and Terna Rete Italia), IIASA and the Renewables-Grid-Initiative (RGI).

BESTGRID 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”

IIASA Research

IIASA will evaluate all activities undertaken under the BESTGRID umbrella from a scientific perspective. IIASA will analyze the action implemented throughout the pilots by applying a framework of guiding principles and collecting data. In addition, the potential of different actions taken to achieve acceptability and the conditions that are necessary for their successful application will be identified. These results will subsequently be published to make their way into politically and scientifically relevant discourses.

Disclaimer:The sole responsibility for the content of this webpage lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither the EACI nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Print this page

Last edited: 27 August 2014


Nadejda Komendantova

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program


Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer

Emeritus Research Scholar Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program


01.04.2013 - 30.09.2015


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313