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Vision:En 2040 is designed to involve local stakeholders in the planning process for wind and solar plants.

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The state of Lower Saxony is funding a project to open up the discussion around regional energy transition to ordinary people, as well as conservation organisations and municipal decision makers. Despite a broad acceptance of the Energiewende (energy turnaround) in Germany, citizens must ‘buy in’ to renewable energy developments at the local level.

The Local Energy Transition Dialogue brings the Institute for Environmental Planning (IUP) at Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) together with the Climate Protection Agency Region Hannover and IP SYSCON to develop a digital simulation game: Vision:En 2040 is designed to educate and involve local stakeholders in the planning process.

Using the online tool, wind and solar plants can be positioned on maps based on recommendations from LUH geodata. "We have based this on uniform nationwide criteria that include noise protection, nature conservation, landscape and the legally prescribed distances of wind turbines from infrastructure," explains IUP’s Professor Christina von Haaren in a press release. The plants’ potential yields are then displayed and can be cross-referenced with electricity generation targets for the local community.

"Achieving the goals of the energy transition depends on many variables and is everyone's responsibility. We are all called upon to do our part to ensure success,” comments Lower Saxony's Minister for the Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection, Olaf Lies. “The digital simulation game Vision:En 2040 can help objectify the dialogue about municipal energy concepts and the path to a climate-neutral energy supply and increase acceptance."