Institute Institute Employees Christina von Haaren Research projects
Vision:En 2040PLUS: Further development and consolidation of the application and the event concept 'Vision:En 2040 - Our ideas, our energy transition'

Vision:En 2040PLUS: Further development and consolidation of the application and the event concept 'Vision:En 2040 - Our ideas, our energy transition'

Led by:  Prof. Christina von Haaren
Team:  Dr. Julia Thiele
Year:  2024
Funding:  Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Umwelt, Energie und Klimaschutz
Duration:  01.07.2022 - 31.10.2024

Vision:En 2040PLUS: Further development and consolidation of the application and the event concept 'Vision:En 2040 - Our ideas, our energy transition'

The expansion of renewable energies is fundamental for the implementation of the energy transition in Germany in order to achieve climate protection goals and an independent energy supply. The transformation of the energy system is far from being achieved, especially when the entire primary energy consumption is considered. In 2020, the balance sheet share of renewable energies in Lower Saxony was around 25 %. Overall, the energy transition is desired by the majority of the population. However, concrete plans for new energy plants also encounter some local opposition, and local residents would like to be more involved in the process.

Against this background, a project team - consisting of members of the Institute of Environmental Planning (IUP) of the Leibniz University Hannover (LUH), the Climate Protection Agency Hannover Region and IP SYSCON GmbH - created a digital dialogue tool with an event concept: "Vision:En 2040" aims to strengthen local support for renewable energies by enabling citizens to exchange their visions for expansion in dialogue events and to implement them with the use of the application. Social learning processes take place at the dialogue events while information and knowledge are shared, so that ‘Vision:En 2040’ contributes to increasing the acceptance of renewable energy expansion at the local level. For Olaf Lies, Lower Saxony's Minister for the Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection, the project represents an important step on the path to the energy transition (source). With Vision:En 2040PLUS, the project is therefore entering a second round.

The aim of the follow-up project Vision:En 2040PLUS is to continue testing and optimising the practicability of the application and the event concept through further events. In Vision:En 2040PLUS, the project team is extending the dialogue tool to the whole of Lower Saxony. Based on the practical experience gained from additional events, a manual is being prepared. The manual will enable other Lower Saxon actors (e.g. regional energy agencies, municipalities) to independently conduct dialogue events in their municipalities and to disseminate 'Vision:En 2040' when the project is completed.

The project consortium consisting of the Institute of Environmental Planning of the Leibniz University Hannover, the Climate Protection Agency Hannover and IP SYSCON GmbH is planning three phases for the Vision:En 2040PLUS project:

In the first phase, the application will be broadened to include the required geodata and analyses for the whole of Lower Saxony. An event with Lower Saxony multipliers and experts will provide insights into how the results from the dialogue events could be integrated into concrete planning processes and whether 'Vision:En 2040' can be used as an informal instrument of citizen participation.

The event concept will be consolidated in the second phase. For this purpose, events will be held in various municipalities (Hannover region and municipalities in at least two other regions) so that 'Vision:En 2040' is applied under a variety of circumstances.

In the third phase, the dialogue events will be additionally evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively in order to obtain scientific evidence if participation in 'Vision:En 2040' can change attitudes towards the energy transition and local expansion.

The follow-up project is funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry for the Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection.


Project partners:

Klimaschutzagentur Region Hannover gGmbH



The first international article on Vision:En 2040 was published in March 2024:

The article sheds light on the theoretical background and shows the structure of Vision:En 2040. It also compares event results and highlights options for further development.

The project was extended in October 2023. The extension will enable the following additional objectives to be achieved:

  • "Integration interface" module: An import function in the dialogue tool will be used to visualise planning data from the respective regional planning authority at the level of the planning regions. In this context, the event format and the interface of the digital dialogue tool will be adapted to the larger "scope" (level of the regional planning bodies).
  • Economy and greenhouse gas savings module: The economy module is intended to show event participants the financial gains that could be realised for the municipality through the installation of RE systems. The greenhouse gas savings module visualises how high the savings of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) could be through the newly installed renewable energy plants.


Thiele, J., Wiehe, J. & von Haaren, C. (2024): Participation 3.0 in the implementation of the energy transition—Components and effectiveness of an interactive dialogue tool (Vision:En 2040). PLoS ONE 19(3): e0299270.

Thiele, J., Kinzinger, J. & von Haaren, C. (2024): Citizen participation 3.0 − A digital dialogue tool
to support decision-making in the context of the energy transition. DOI: 10.19217/NuL2024-05-01 

Wagenfeld, J., Thiele, J., Schmedes, D & von Haaren, C. (2023). Dataset: Geodaten der Flächeneignungsberechnung des Projekts Vision:En 2040 PLUS.

Thiele, J., Wiehe, J., Gauglitz, P., Lohr, C., Bensmann, A., Hanke-Rauschenbach, R. & von Haaren, C. (2021): 100% renewable energy in Germany: Can energy demand in 2050 be met in a way that is compatible with people and nature?

Wiehe, J., Thiele, J., Walter, A., Hashemifarzad, A.,  Zum Hingst, J., von Haaren, C. (2020): Nothing to regret: Reconciling renewable energies with human wellbeing and nature in the German Energy Transition.

Palmas, C., Abis, E., von Haaren, C. & Lovett, A. (2012): Renewables in residential development: an integrated GIS-based multicriteria approach for decentralized micro-renewable energy production in new settlement development: a case study of the eastern metropolitan area of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.