The energy transition is more than the development of new infrastructures and technologies; it entails far-reaching changes in society and the economy.
The energy transition is more than the development of new infrastructures and technologies; it entails far-reaching changes in society and the economy. IASS/Norbert Michalke

Headline: Pathways to Sustainable Energy

Germany is an internationally recognised pioneer in the development of a low-carbon energy system. The promotion of renewable energies in Germany has been an important trigger for a global energy transition. Nevertheless, Germany and the rest of the world are still only at the beginning of the far-reaching societal transformation associated with a sustainable energy transformation.

The research group Pathways to Sustainable Energy focuses on two key challenges that will determine the future progress of the energy transition: social sustainability and global governance and cooperation.

Socially Sustainable Energy Transition

The researchers study the main societal trends and challenges that arise in the context of Germany's Energiewende in order to assess its social sustainability. They then develop proposals for a more socially just implementation process with greater opportunities for civic engagement. Their findings contribute to the societal dialogue on the social sustainability of the energy transition.

Global Energy Transition

Global governance, international cooperation and foreign policy in the energy sector represents another focus of the research group. The researchers investigate how the global energy transition is already affecting international politics and governance in the energy sector and identify options for advancing such a transition. How are the interests of influential countries like Germany, China, and the US evolving in the context of the global energy transition? What foreign and industrial policy strategies are these countries pursuing? What impact do these strategies have on policy frameworks and investment patterns in partner countries - and thus on the progress of the global energy transition? A transdisciplinary dialogue with the government, the private sector, and civil society informs the research on these questions and contribute to the further development of Germany's international energy transition policy.


Global Energy Transition

Germany is in a position to give impetus to energy transitions in other countries.By analysing global trends and key energy policy initiatives on the international stage, this focus area supports this process.

Pathways to Sustainable Energy

How can the heating sector in Germany be made more efficient and intelligent so that fewer fossil fuels are used? How can the energy transition be advanced in Germany and abroad? What measures are necessary to ensure the sustainability of the energy transition in its social dimension? This project addresses these three questions and investigates the prerequisites for a successful energy transition.

Socially Sustainable Energy Transition

Increasingly, discussions of the energy transition are revolving around questions of fairness, justice, and social responsibility, with a particular focus on financing, public acceptance of wind turbines and transmission lines, the coal phase-out, and working conditions in the wind and solar industry.

A New Culture of Conflict for the Energy Transition

This three-year project examines conflicts and cultures of conflict resolution in connection with the German energy transition. The research team will investigate the dynamics of conflicts and the arguments and strategies adopted by various actors. In particular, the project aims to identify populist rhetoric and narratives, which have gained considerable ground in social and political discourse in recent years.

Energy Transition

Kopernikus Project Ariadne

The guiding principle of the Ariadne joint project is to provide an overview and orientation for the design and implementation of the energy transition through excellent research in a joint learning process with politics, business, and society. The aim of the project is to create an overarching perspective, analyze the impact of policy instruments and identify a whole range of possible policy options for shaping the energy transition in Germany.

Completed Projects

A European Roadmap for Green Hydrogen

Hydrogen is widely viewed as the energy resource of the future - both in German and European politics. Under current proposals, hydrogen is to be generated using electricity from renewable sources and will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry. The European Committee of the Regions has decided to contribute an own-initiative opinion to the political debate on the development of the European hydrogen economy. The IASS will play a supporting role in the preparation of this opinion.