Pathways to Sustainable Energy

The German energy transition is a critical element in the global transformation towards a future low-carbon energy system, and Germany remains an international pioneer in the promotion of renewable energy generation and energy efficiency. A variety of unresolved issues must be addressed however in order to advance this transformation of the energy system.

Addressing three key challenges for energy transitions

The IASS project “Pathways to Effective, Efficient, Resilient and Fair Transformations of the Energy System” addresses three critical issues: What measures are necessary to ensure the sustainability of the German energy transition in its social dimension? What must be done to advance energy transitions abroad? And, what policies and technologies can be applied to reduce fossil fuel consumption in the electricity and heating sectors? The IASS will develop scientifically robust recommendations and practical guidance for efforts to address these issues, which are of vital importance to the energy transition, including the development of a barometer to measure the social sustainability of the German energy transition. Filling an important gap in the research landscape, this instrument will facilitate the systematic monitoring and evaluation of various social issues around the energy transition.

Advancing the transformation of the energy system

This project will be in close communication with other IASS projects and will support efforts to promote the transition towards a sustainable, low-carbon energy system in Germany and abroad. Its milestones include annual conferences at which policy recommendations to improve social sustainability will be presented. Project outputs will include articles in scientific journals, policy briefs, and media content as well as several transdisciplinary workshops and a doctoral thesis on carbon capture and utilisation (CCU).


01/2017 to 12/2020 (Sub-project on decarbonisation: 01/2017 to 12/2017)

Project partners:

  • Project researchers have established close working relationships with government ministries and authorities, international organisations, research institutes, non-governmental organisations, and private sector entities
  • Research on issues relating to the social dimension of the energy transition is conducted in cooperation with 100 Prozent Erneuerbar Stiftung and the Innogy Foundation within the framework of the research partnership “dynamis – For a socially sustainable energy transition” ( The IASS is leading the research effort to develop a sustainability barometer and is cooperating with the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research on this project. Contact person: Daniela Setton


Energy transition, social sustainability, international dimension, decarbonisation, coal exit pathways, renewable energy, energy efficiency, public participation, energy sector, methane, heating sector (on parental leave)


Scientific Project Leader: Dr Sybille Röhrkasten (on parental leave), Dr Rainer Quitzow

Research Associates: Dr Lorenzo Cremonese, Dr Alexander Gusev, Dr Ira Matuschke, Dr Adela Marian, Dr Rainer Quitzow, Dr Dominik Schäuble, Daniela Setton, Sonja Thielges

Ph.D.: Henriette Naims

Supervising Directors: Prof. Ortwin Renn, Prof. Patrizia Nanz

Team Assistant: Darina Karaivanova-Saase