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Workshop: "From Innovation to Acceptance: Challenges and Potentials of a Sustainable Energy Transition"

Challenges and Potentials of a Sustainable Energy Transition

Challenges and Potentials of a Sustainable Energy Transition
Image Credit: Suwit Luangpipatsorn / Pixabay

organized by Dr. Maria Rosaria di Nucci and Bettina Tacke (Freie Universität Berlin)

Live Session on 21.10.2020: 4-6pm (CEST UTC+2) 

For a detailed Program click here!

Participant information:

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Meeting number: 121 449 0613, Password: UAS2020

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There is a broad consensus that a significant reduction of GHG emissions is necessary in order to limit the effects of climate change. This reduction of GHG emissions requires a shift of the current energy system, which largely relies on fossil fuels, towards a system based on sustainable energy sources. For this purpose, ambitious targets were set by governments all over the world to increase the total share of renewable energy. The shift to a sustainable energy system is closely linked to the diffusion of innovations. This process has multiple dimensions – socio-political, community-, and market-based – that must be considered holistically. Research shows the growing role of social acceptance and its potential as a constraining factor. Therefore, the social dimension has become equally as important as technological aspects for a successful sustainable energy transition. The diffusion and acceptance process of sustainable energy supplies – ranging from wind energy and solar power to newer concepts like smart grids, all-electric solutions, or power-to-heat – have very different histories and face different challenges. However, similarities and common issues can be scrutinized, and important lessons can be drawn. Participation and capacity building have been identified as key acceptance factors.

Three important dimensions will be dealt with in the workshop: user interaction with new technologies (e.g. smart grids, energy management), information and involvement strategies of stakeholders as well as the concept of ‘energy democracy’. Social innovations like citizens’ energy projects provide greater local control over and acceptance of renewable energy generation infrastructure. This workshop aims to bring together key research findings from the acceptance and social science research on various energy systems and discusses potential solutions that arise from analyzing these similarities. We will examine best practices, identify obstacles and drivers, and finally analyze the conditions for a successful implementation.

• Which participation strategies and user-technology interactions have enabled a successful implementation of renewable energies?

• What are the key factors of acceptance for sustainable energy systems?

• How are social innovations linked with the acceptance process of sustainable energy systems?

• Which social innovations can help to increase acceptance of renewable energy supply systems and energy reduction measures?

• Which sustainable energy sectors hold a potential for democratization, and how can we ignite this potential? 

Dr. Maria Rosaria Di Nucci

Principal investigator and coordinator of the Horizon 2020 project COME RES on community energy, Environmental Policy Research Centre, Freie Universität Berlin

Dr. Maria-Rosaria Di Nucci has been working at the Environmental Policy Research Centre since 2004. She is principal investigator and coordinator of the Horizon 2020 project COME RES on community energy. Dr. Di Nucci holds a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Rome and a PhD (1987) from the University of Sussex. Formerly she was Head of the Climate Protection Group at the Ministry of Urban Development of the Land Berlin (1989-2001) and a lecturer in Industrial Economics at the Berlin Technical University (1985-89).

Shortly finalized activities include the coordination of the H2020 project WinWind on social and local acceptance of wind energy in in six selected countries in Europe, the impact assessment of the "National Climate Initiative" of the German Ministry for Environment as well as two projects on socio-technical challenges of radioactive waste and its long term governance (SOTEC-Radio, ENTRIA). Previously she coordinated the REALISE-Forum (Renewable Energy and Liberalisation in Selected Electricity Markets) project within the EC program "Intelligent Energy Europe" and collaborated in the initiative to create an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). From 2005-2010 she was a member of the Consortium ConcertoPlus, supporting the EU in the promotion of the CONCERTO initiative, and was task leader for planning and implementation process assessment and for the socio-economic impact assessment. Her research interests include: Regulation of energy markets, comparative nuclear policy, comparative energy and climate policy, support instruments for renewable energy and energy efficiency, technology policy and assessment, sustainability and socio-economic assessment.

Bettina Tacke

Scientific Coordinator of FUBIC, Freie Universität Berlin

Bettina Tacke is the Scientific Coordinator of FUBIC: All-Electricity for Technology Quarters for Freie Universität Berlin. The project accompanies the construction of the technology and start-up center FUBIC. FUBIC stands for Business and Innovation Center next to Freie Universität Berlin Campus. It will be located at the premises of a former US military hospital close to the University. The center will provide laboratories and offices for start-ups in the field of life science, healthcare and IT. The accompanying research project brings together manifold stakeholders and is coordinated by WISTA Management GmbH. The RWTH Aachen University supports the project with its technical expertise and is in charge of planning the energy concept. The entire energy supply of the FUBIC will be all-electric and CO2-neutral, ensured by an exclusive procurement of renewable energies.

Bettina Tacke is responsible for the subproject "Social Science Research - Technology Acceptance and Stakeholder Analysis". Freie Universität Berlin surveys the needs of potential users and examines the diverse interests of stakeholders. The team involves different target groups in dialogue events and interviews potential users to analyze the acceptance of the all-electricity concept. The findings will not only inform the FUBIC project, but will be communicated to wider community of existing or future German and European technology quarters, so that they can also benefit from the research.

Keynote Speaker

Maj-Britt Quitzau 

Associate Professor in Sustainable Transition of Cities, Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark.

Maj-Britt Quitzau has a background in Civil Engineering with specialization in environmental and urban planning from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Throughout her research career at both DTU and AAU, she has been engaged with society and technology studies (STS). A key area of expertise has been related to the understanding of sustainable transitions in the energy sector, where she has carried out in depth research regarding innovative planning processes in Danish municipalities. Through these studies, she has gained a strong understanding of the strategic work that urban and energy planners perform in their attempt to construct viable alliances and alignments to push energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions forward. Her scientific publications include issues such as strategic planning, alignment challenges, sustainable energy transitions and user involvement. Maj-Britt has also been involved in several international networks regarding energy studies, including Cost-Action C23 through The European Cooperation in Science and Technology and Annex 63 through the International Energy Agency. 

Maj-Britt will give a keynote speech on "Energies for change - aligning stakeholders towards sustainable energy transitions".


Alessandro Luè

Senior Researcher at Poliedra – Politecnico di Milano

Alessandro Luè is head of unit at Poliedra, a research center of Politecnico di Milano that focuses on environmental sustainability, mobility, energy, participation, decision support systems, smart cities and communities. Alessandro has been involved in many energy and mobility projects concerning the appraisal of plans and infrastructures, stakeholder engagement, environmental assessment, design and optimization of private and public services. Alessandro holds a M.Sc. in Environmental and land planning Engineering, and a PhD in Service Design. He has been research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and adjunct professor for the course “Methods and models for decision-making in transport” at Politecnico di Milano. At Poliedra, he supervises a multidisciplinary group of 10 experts, and has been responsible of EU funded projects, such as AWARE (FP7), REACT (FP7), INSPIRE-Grid (FP7), Sharing Cities (H2020), nuMIDAS (H2020), APPROVE (Interreg Europe), Merezzate+ (EIT Climate-KIC).

Alessandro will give a keynote speech with the title "Challenges and opportunities of raising social acceptance to accelerate the energy transition process ".