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.

People involved

Marc Harmsen

T. +3153489 4348/3260
Thomas Hoppe

T. +31534893242
Imke Lammers

T. +31534894540
Tatiana Filatova

T. +31534893530
Cheryl de Boer

T. +31534893731