The decarbonisation of the energy system poses many challenges, from major investments to infrastructure redesign.
The decarbonisation of the energy system poses many challenges, from major investments to infrastructure redesign. Bureau of Land Management/CC BY 2.0

Headline: Energy Transition Dynamics

The Energy Transition Dynamics Group conducts problem-driven research about the transition to a completely carbon-neutral energy sector. The group's research focus reflects the Paris Agreement's commitment to the elimination of carbon emissions. Understanding how a transition to a carbon-neutral and fully renewable energy future can be brought about in a rapid and socially acceptable way is the key aim.

The transition entails many challenges, from fostering public participation and acceptance to building the necessary innovation systems and supply chains, from redesigning electricity infrastructure to changing market regulations. And finally, strategies are needed for the regions currently dependent on fossil fuel industries. The Energy Transition Dynamics Group investigates all stages of the transition. The group is conducting five third-party funded projects, mainly funded by the European Research Council and the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. In these projects, the group works to

  • improve understanding of how policies and stakeholder activities advance transitions (TRIPOD, TIPPING+).

  • analyse trade-offs and impacts of policy options, strategies, and instruments to bring about a transition to a completely carbon-neutral energy sector (TRIPOD, MUSTEC, OpenCSP, SENTINEL).

Performing both empirical and theoretical work, the researchers approach transition problems from new angles to broaden and deepen disciplinary perspectives. The group's research draws on theories and methods from several disciplines, including political science, economics, power system modelling, and transition studies. For each specific research question, the researchers adopt a distinct theoretical and methodological framework. Transdisciplinary and co-creative approaches are applied when possible. The team collaborates with European and international colleagues to broaden understanding of renewable energy policies and tap into relevant methodological expertise.

Projects

The Sustainable Energy Transition Laboratory (SENTINEL)

The transition to a low-carbon energy system will involve a major redesign of the energy system with a focus on renewable energy sources. The Sustainable Energy Transitions Laboratory will develop, test and make freely available a modelling framework that helps a wide range of stakeholders make the critical decisions they are now faced with.

Identifying positive tipping points towards clean energy transitions in carbon intensive regions (Tipping+)

If Europe is to reach its 2030 and 2050 climate targets, it will need to fully decarbonise its energy and industrial sectors. This may have serious effects on the economies and social structures of affected regions, and especially those regions whose economies depend strongly on single coal- or carbon-intensive sectors. In this project, researchers are investigating how regions can be transformed without triggering social or economic decline.

Solar thermal power plants: Generating transformation knowledge with open data (Open CSP)

Solar thermal power plants are a controllable source of renewable electricity. The development of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies is promising, but their expansion has been overshadowed by solar photovoltaics, which are more affordable but less reliable. This project will collect and publish data relating to CSP projects worldwide with the aim of providing the research and policy community with a detailed, high-quality overview.

Completed Projects

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