Technology Governance in Energy Transitions

Technology Governance in Energy Transitions is one of six profile areas within Chalmers Energy Area of Advance. It addresses the challenge of inducing change in large and complex energy systems and of choosing the right path in order to avoid major pitfalls in the transition.
 
Over the last two centuries the scale and scope of human society have changed rapidly and radically. At the heart of this grand transition is a hundred-fold increase of energy supply. It is based on exhaustible resources and has drastic consequences for the global environment while a large share of the global population is still waiting to reap the fruits of the development. Hence, there is an urgent need to steer societal energy use in a sustainable direction.
 
However, the processes involved in steering societal energy use in a sustainable direction are complex and cannot be managed by any single actor. The challenge that is addressed in the Technology Governance in Energy Transitions profile is how various actors in society, individually and collectively, can induce and contribute to change of large socio-technical systems harnessing, transporting and using energy and guide the transitions to avoid major negative consequences. The long-term vision for this profile is to sustain and continuously develop a knowledge domain of utmost relevance to society and an excellent research environment that attracts devoted minds from across the globe.

Active fields

The Technology Governance for Energy Transitions (TEG) profile has four active research fields:
  • Energy systems analysis
    This field contains techno-economic analysis of the energy system on different geographical scales.
  • Environmental and resource assessment
    Within this field, energy technologies are assessed in terms of environmental impact, natural resource constraints and, to some extent, economic and social consequences over their life cycle.
  • Energy use and consumer behaviour
    The research on consumers and energy efficiency handles a wide range of interdisciplinary research topics related to the demand side of the energy system. The interplay between technologies and consumer behaviour is in focus, including issues related to design and acceptance of new technologies.
  • Innovation systems analysis
    In this research, processes of socio-technical change and industrial transformation are studied using various frameworks, for example the technological innovation systems framework.

Ongoing activities

The profile aims at building a community with mutual understanding and with vivid discussions about methods and when and where they can and should be applied. In order to develop the profile, activities for community building, internationalisation, and dissemination are arranged.
 
A cross-disciplinary effort to evaluate technologies relevant in the transition to a sustainable energy system resulted in the evolving e-book series Systems Perspectives on… . The series now comprises three books, of which one is updated every year. Seminars are held around the new chapters in order to foster exchange of ideas and knowledge.
 
To ensure continued relevance, research funding is to be channelled into prioritised strategic research areas. Such areas have been identified for each active research field. In a first phase, two postdoc positions will be funded:
  • Assessment of land-based climate change mitigation options and potential cost reductions for the energy system
  • Energy Transitions in East Africa
 
Read more about the Technology Governance in Energy Transitions profile and the planned activities in the Short version profile plan for Technology Governance in Energy Transitions 2015–2019.

The Areas of Advance's joint initiative Chalmers Initiative for Innovation and Sustainability Transitions (CIIST) has strong connections to the Technology Governance in Energy Transitions profile.

Contact

Published: Tue 05 Jan 2016. Modified: Mon 12 Dec 2016