The way that the energy transition takes place is important for us citizens because it shapes our future in many ways. This future is about secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy.
We see in the recent period a leading role of citizens in asking attention for climate change and addressing power structures through (social) media and direct action like Extinction Rebellion. On the other hand, we see also citizens opposing against the energy transition, its costs and consequences for the economy and individuals. Moreover, in particular the public acceptance of the siting of renewable energy projects. Some people fear that renewable energy, although sustainable, is no longer secure and affordable. Others fear that the present energy market and competition will not lead to enough available renewable energy.
The main question in this course is: what enables (us as) citizens to take ownership of the energy transition and gain its benefits? Without this ownership and without offering benefits to the citizens, the energy transition is in danger. What can we learn from research and practical experiences? This course links knowledge and insights from a broad field of social sciences. During the last two decades, a vast body of research and literature has become available on the role of citizens and community energy in the energy transition.
The course will address the role of citizens in the energy transition in their different capacities. These different, but overlapping capacities, will be the themes for the course through a number of academic lectures, guest lectures on practical experiences and discussion and designing of solutions by the course participants.
The overall leaning goals is how the role of citizens could really become the core of the energy transition. For anyone that wants to contribute to the energy transition in their (future) professional life or as a citizen, the following learning goals are important:
- Learn how citizens as consumers influence the energy market, what their motives and the side effects on their energy consumption are.
- Learn what makes citizens as consumers vulnerable for energy poverty and what socio-economic characteristics might limit their possibilities to invest in clean energy, their entrance to the market, the possibility to become a prosumer and their possibilities to reduce their energy use.
- Learn how the energy transition could strengthen democracy and public participation.
- Learn to understand how the energy transition might collide with other interest of citizens, like the NIMBY phenomenon, and how to overcome this.
- Learn what role citizens and public acceptance play in the rollout of sustainable energy technologies.
- Learn how citizens as individuals or groups members can influence positive behavioural change of other citizens in the field of energy use.
- Learn what fundamental changes in the form of social innovations are needed to give citizens a more equal role in the energy market compared to other large scale market players, and how governments can facilitate this.
- Methods: Interactive lectures, guest lectures from practitioners, group and individual assignments
- Course level: Intermediate
- Target group: Students in their third Bachelor’s year with an interest in sustainability, energy and climate
- Required knowledge: Basic understanding of sustainable development
- Course leader: dr. Frans Coenen
- Credits: 2 ECTS credits for successfully completing the summer school
Our summer school 2021 programme will be published soon. Stay tuned!