IGS University of Twente
Research group CSTM

Energy transition

The field

The transition to innovative sustainable energy solutions is technology and society driven. The environmental impact and the economy of current energy sources are seen as key challenges for human progress. Issues like shale gas exploration, geo-political tensions surrounding oil in polar areas, or money flowing towards political instable regimes all point to the need for change.
Changing the energy system is not restricted to developing and replacing technology. It is rather depend on a combination of using and replacing multiple energy technologies, social and institutional rules, entrepreneurship and public policies. A new energy system matches current economic routines and habits in society poorly. Behavioral, organizational or governance drivers for change are critical for spurring transitional change in energy systems. Changing economic (and political) actors’ perspectives, developing new organizational models and designing innovative governance models are considered necessary for change. We seek to explore, understand and design innovative design and implementation models, innovative business cases that work, better policies, and better public debates about energy transition.
CSTM is currently involved in multiple research projects that contribute to new ideas on governance models to spur smart and sustainable energy transition. This manifests in research projects on Smart Grids, Bioenergy, Smart Regions and Cities, Energy and Regulations, Energy and Gender, and Climate Change Mitigation Policy. In its research activities CSTM actively collaborates with international, national and regional partners from both the public and private sectors.

Key academic projects in progress

NWO-URSES: Smart Regimes for Smart Grids (SmaRds) Goal: to create an integrated regime that addresses two behavioural uncertainties that impede smart grid developments: the legal design of emerging organisational settings in smart grid configurations and the policy design of smart grid implementation trajectories in municipalities.
PhD project. Project leader: Maarten Arentsen. PhD: Imke Lammers. Supervisors: Michiel Heldeweg (promotor), Maarten Arentsen, Thomas Hoppe (co-supervisors). Period: 2014-2018. Status: on-going.
Governance of local sustainability initiatives in the Frisian context Can improved governance reap additional benefits for liveability and sustainability? Goal: Governments face the challenge how to manage the transition to sustainable economies and societies. This touches upon global trends on ‘grassroots initiatives’, like the ‘transition towns’ movement, which strives to decentralize production and consumption of basic goods – like energy - without causing negative externalities to the environment. In the Frisian context this means that next to a focus on the traditional environmental and energy topics in sustainability substantial attention will be paid to economic and development, and regional vitality. This proposal encompasses two lines of inquiry on the subject of local sustainability: (i) it seeks to learn from on-going local initiatives, and (ii) it seeks to learn from real-life experimentation with a ‘living lab’ based in a residential area. This approach covers the Frisian context by addressing both rural and urban contexts.
PhD project. Project leader: Thomas Hoppe. PhD: Beau Warbroek. Supervisors: Hans Bressers (promotor), Thomas Hoppe (daily supervisor). Period: 2014-2018. Status: on-going.
COMPLEX: Knowledge based climate mitigation systems for a low carbon economy realizing regional climate policy Current models of climate change and carbon emission assume the immediate past is a reasonable guide to the future. They struggle to represent the complex causal structures and time-asymmetries of many socio-natural systems. COMPLEX will integrate the quasi-classic models of meso-scale processes with our best understanding of fine-grained space-time patterns and the system-flips that are likely to occur in the long interval between now and 2050. It is believed the sub-national region is the key point of entry for studying climate change and its cause-effect interrelations. It is small enough to be sensitive to local factors, large enough to interact with supra-national agencies and stable enough to be historically and culturally distinctive. In addition to undertaking case studies in Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain and Italy, we will develop a suite of modelling tools and decision-support systems to inform national and supra-national policy and support communities across Europe working to make the transition to a low-carbon economy. BioEnergyTrain (BET) The development and adoption of renewable and sustainable energy has become a top priority in Europe, and is Horizon 2020’s most prominent theme. Research into new energy methods required to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint is an urgent and critical need, and is reliant upon a flow of newly qualified persons in areas as diverse as renewable energy infrastructure management, new energy materials and methods, and smart buildings and transport. Bioenergy is a particularly important field in this respect as it is at the cross-roads of several important European policies, from the Strategic Energy Technology Plan Roadmap on Education and Training (SET-Plan) to the European Bioeconomy Strategy to European Food Safety and Nutrition Policy. European development in this prioritised field is stalled due to a lack of qualified personnel, a lack of cohesion and integration among stakeholders, and poor linkage between professional training and industry needs. To address these problems, BioEnergyTrain brings together fifteen partners from six EU countries to create new post-graduate level curricula in key bioenergy disciplines, and a network of tertiary education institutions, research centres, professional associations, and industry stakeholders encompassing the whole value chain of bioenergy from field/forest to integration into the sustainable energy systems of buildings, settlements and regions. The project will foster European cooperation to provide a highly skilled and innovative workforce across the whole bioenergy value chain, closely following the recommendations of the SET-Plan Education Roadmap.

CSTM is WP2 leader on the design and implementation of the new master curriculum Bioresource Value Chain Manager. This program starts at the University of Twente in September 2017. See also CSTM website “Education”.
Phoenix The development and adoption of renewable and sustainable forms of energy has become a major priority for Europe and is an important theme in H2020. Research into new, energy-related technologies to reduce Europe’s reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels is a critical need, and requires more newly qualified people in areas such as renewable-energy infrastructure management, new energy materials and methods, as well as smart buildings and transport. Bio-energy is particularly relevant to the Work Programme, because it is at the crossroads of several key European policies – from the Strategic Energy Technology Plan Roadmap on Education and Training (SET-Plan) to the European Bio-economy Strategy for European Food Safety and Nutrition Policy. So far, technological development has concentrated on using crops and wood for fuel, energy and industrial products. These conventional bio-resources are, however, limited, and the use of non-conventional, currently unused or under-utilised bio-resources provides the best possibility for the growth of the bio-economy. However, European development in this priority field is failing to keep pace with demand due to a lack of qualified personnel, a lack of cohesion and integration among stakeholders, and poorly developed links between professional training and the real needs of industry. Based on seven work packages the Phoenix RISE project will address these issues by exploiting the complementary expertise of its partners and creating synergies between them through the targeted secondments of staff to advance research and innovation knowledge in bio-energy research. Phoenix is an international, interdisciplinary, cross-sectorial project, bringing together a total of 16 partners: 14 from the EU (5 companies and 9 academic organisations) and two Third-Country academic partners to enhance
its collective research excellence and create new, post-graduate-level research training in key disciplines that support the provision of bio-energy.
Societal acceptance of bio-energy Bioenergy has potential in agricultural regions of the Netherlands, but is at the same time highly controversial. Part of the problem is the common pool resource character of bioresource utilisation. In the project CSTM develops new institutional arrangements for mitigating societal resistance to bio-energy based on the intellectual heritage of late Elinor Ostrom, winner of the Nobel prize for Economics in 2009. The core idea behind the approach is designing a jointly agreed “licence to operate” for the project developer with the local community, to avoid costly and time consuming legal procedures for the benefit of accelerating the local energy transition. optimizing renewable energy development for a sustainable rural electrification This PhD project, in collaboration with the university of UNPAD, Bandung, Indonesia, analyses the effectivity of rural electrification programs in Indonesia with a special focus on the Bogor Regency in West Java. In the electrification program, remote areas get access to electricity by means of stand-alone technology (hydro, PV or bio). The PhD project analyses the conditions for success and failure of the stand-alone projects from a sustainability and institutional perspective.

People involved

Imke Lammers

T. +31534894540
Tatiana Filatova

T. +31534893530