Surely of interest to many gep-ed’ers.  Best wishes, Michael 

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Benjamin Sovacool <>
Date: February 15, 2018 at 3:21:54 AM GMT+8
To: "" <>, "" <>, "" <>
Cc: Anthony Janetos <>, Laurence Delina <>
Subject: [SCORAI] Vol 35 (January 2018) of Energy Research & Social Science Published - Special Issue on Energy and the Future

Good evening from Europe everyone,


Sorry to intrude upon your inboxes again, but we have a special issue of Energy Research & Social Science that was published this week, focusing on “Energy and the Future.â€� Congratulations (and thanks) to both Laurence Delina and Anthony Janetos from Boston University for the massive amount of effort taken to guest edit it.  Below you can see the table of contents and as always, happy to share individual articles by request.




Benjamin K. Sovacool


Energy Research & Social Science


Laurence Delina, Anthony Janetos, Cosmopolitan, dynamic, and contested energy futures: Navigating the pluralities and polarities in the energy systems of tomorrow, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 1-10, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: The futures of energy are cosmopolitan, dynamic, and full of contradictions. There are multiple actors and institutions with multiple aims and interests advancing the futures of energy; at the same time, these futures are envisioned differently and will, therefore, be produced and negotiated heterogeneously. This context highlights that energy futures are not free of cultural, political, and economic influence, and hence can be best-approached with cosmopolitan and plural lenses. This collection evidences plurality in terms of the disparate geographic locations, disciplinary foundations, conceptual frameworks, and methodological choices of our authors and their papers. This breadth points to the many roads of imagining the sociotechnicality of energy futures and of making these expectations real and durable. We suggest embracing plurality and reflexivity, and understanding the politics of energy futures, at the same time that we also issue a caveat on the complexity of these processes. Claiming no comprehensiveness or closure, our collective contributions should be taken as works-in-progress in the unending quest to understand, analyze, and critique the plurality of the futures of energy and the ways we imagine, navigate, and contest them.

Keywords: Futures; Energy transitions; Uncertainty


Sheila Jasanoff, Just transitions: A humble approach to global energy futures, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 11-14, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Persistent mismatches between problems, policy framings, and solutions point to unsettled ethical conundrums in the ways that the energy transition is being imagined at the centers of global power. First, development is too often seen as the means to achieve more sustainable futures, even though experience points to complex and uncertain relationships between prosperity and sustainability. Second, while technological change is seen as essential to the transition, less attention is paid to the fact that disparities within societies demand differentiated solutions. Third, there are few principles in place for how to effect an energy transition with due attention to social justice in an unequal world. This article reflects on all three points.

Keywords: Energy transition; Social justice; Climate change; Technologies of humility

The global South and their energy futures

Kevin P. Gallagher, China’s Global Energy Finance: Poised to Lead, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 15-16, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: This short essay quantifies the level of Chinese overseas development finance in the global energy sector, denotes the financing model deployed by the Chinese in these transactions, and evaluates China’s potential for financing a transition toward a clean energy future. We find that China’s two development banks – the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China provide more development finance than the World Bank and its counterparts, and have a more flexible business model for financing cleaner energy. That said, the current mix of Chinese energy finance is in carbon intensive projects. China’s model holds out hope, and makes China poised to lead.


Siddharth Sareen, Energy distribution trajectories in two Western Indian states: Comparative politics and sectoral dynamics, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 17-27, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: This article unpacks the institutional bottlenecks and path dependency holding back energy transition in two part-desert states with a sixth of India’s land, despite potentially high scope for solar growth and a systemic move towards a sustainable profile. As heavily-indebted electricity distribution companies in Rajasthan seek to emulate thriving counterparts in Gujarat and turn to technology adoption, efficiency enhancement and loss reduction measures, this study offers an in-depth stakeholder analysis, reflecting on implications for energy futures. Based on 56 expert interviews, it pries open the political economy of distribution within energy transition in Western India, spanning concerns of various consumers and providing insights into the roles played by several institutions, from regulatory commissions to renewable energy agencies. The article adds to existing scholarship by explicating how institutional conditions promote and hold back transitions to sustainable energy futures, bookmarking stakeholders’ expectations with regard to current developments on tariffs, renewable energy growth targets and compliance, the advent of competition, and public participation. It contributes a comparative understanding of the current issues, concerns and ideologies that characterise this transforming sector at the state level, interweaving electricity distribution trajectories and regional political economic developments to explain the dynamics of change and nature of resistance.

Keywords: Socio-technical transitions; Electricity distribution sector; Energy governance; India


Akihisa Mori, Socio-technical and political economy perspectives in the Chinese energy transition, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 28-36, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Electricity systems are so strongly path dependent and deeply embedded in society that vertically integrated monopolistic or oligopolistic supply are justified. However, over-incentivize for capacity investment, excess dependency on fossil fuel, inefficient supply, and lack of customized services, accountability and participation raise dissatisfaction with the prevailing system, urging system transition. Given high potential of renewable energy in breaking the lock-in and generating positive feedback effects, this paper aims to explore how niche innovators and incumbents capitalize on their resources and power to create, augment or weaken prevailing political path-dependencies and lock-in of the prevailing electricity supply system to prospect a future energy transition, taking China as a case. Main findings are: (a) renewable energy has generated feedback effects in China; (b) regime actors have capitalized on their resources and power to organize alliances to be consistent with the government policy orientation while blocking institutional reforms for energy transition; and (c) their resources and power are derived from the monopolistic or oligopolistic electricity supply system and the government price control, both of which are justified for the sake of energy security and economic stabilization.

Keywords: Energy system; Socio-technical transition; Political economy; China


Antonio GM La Viña, Joyce Melcar Tan, Teresa Ira Maris Guanzon, Mary Jean Caleda, Lawrence Ang, Navigating a trilemma: Energy security, equity, and sustainability in the Philippines’ low-carbon transition, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 37-47, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Nearly a decade after the Philippines began promoting renewable energy through legislation, the country has seen gains and encountered roadblocks in its transition to low carbon. This paper examines the Philippines’ experience in attempting to escape conditions of lock-in and path dependency on fossil fuels, and attempting a governed transition to low-carbon energy sources. The Philippines is a developing country with substantial economic growth aspirations, yet it is among the most vulnerable to climate change, so it has great interest in mitigating global carbon emissions. Yet, the country itself is heavily dependent on imported coal for its energy needs. In the context of its existing regulatory and techno-institutional landscape, the authors examine the Philippine experience in governing its energy transition. The paper discusses challenges in balancing the trilemma of energy security, equity, and sustainability. It then identifies some priorities for the Philippines as it attempts to move away from fossil fuel dependency and accelerate its transition towards low-carbon energy. The authors consider developments beyond the energy sector, particularly the early entry-into-force of the Paris Agreement, as a tool to favor the trilemma’s sustainability pillar. The Philippine case may provide lessons for other developing countries undergoing their own transitions.

Keywords: Philippines; Energy transition; Trilemma; Climate change


Laurence L. Delina, Whose and what futures? Navigating the contested coproduction of Thailand’s energy sociotechnical imaginaries, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 48-56, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: The futures of energy in developing countries need to be catalyzed, created, and nurtured in a process hinged towards achieving the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. This paper looks at how Thailand produces this normative energy future. Using the STS concept of sociotechnical imaginaries and empirical evidence gathered through interviews and document analysis, this paper critically engages, describes, and compares the dominant and resistant imaginaries in the ongoing production of Thailand’s energy future. I highlight three core imaginaries and describe how they intertwine with political economy, are determined by value sets and value systems, and present either visions of continuity or transformation. The dominance and/or marginalization of an imaginary, it appears, are contingent upon issues of power and resources. This entails that the production of energy futures in Thailand and beyond would be an ongoing process intertwining with heterogeneous actors and institutions, their value systems, interests and politics. Understanding these tensions and allowing alternative imaginaries to permeate policy-setting processes would be key in delivering a coherent and effective public policy.

Keywords: Sociotechnical imaginary; Energy transitions; Thailand; Energy policy


Philipp Schaube, Willington Ortiz, Marina Recalde, Status and future dynamics of decentralised renewable energy niche building processes in Argentina, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 57-67, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Despite significant natural potential for renewable energy in Argentina and the political intention to generate 8% of electricity from renewable sources by 2017, by 2016 the share was only 1.95%. Although this aggregated picture appears unfavourable, several diverse initiatives promoting the development and application of decentralised renewable energy technologies are in place across the country. The aim of this study is to characterise those initiatives promoting decentralised renewable energy and to assess their potential role in inducing the wider transformation of the Argentinian energy system. To achieve this, we apply conceptualisations for the development of sociotechnical niches and use qualitative research techniques to characterise the sociotechnical dynamics of the decentralised renewable energy sector in Argentina. A niche in an advanced stage of development, in which lessons are systematically aggregated in networks, was identified and examples of generic lessons being used to frame new projects or programmes were also found. In addition to considering the internal niche development processes, we investigate how external factors affect the development of the niche. Finally, we suggest two possible development pathways by which the niche might exert stronger influence on the broader sustainability transformation of the Argentinian power system.

Keywords: Argentina; Energy transition; Decentralised renewable energy niche; Strategic Niche Management


Long Seng To, Vikram Seebaluck, Matthew Leach, Future energy transitions for bagasse cogeneration: Lessons from multi-level and policy innovations in Mauritius, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 68-77, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Agro-industries have the potential to catalyse energy access and promote development. Mauritius is one of the most advanced countries in the use of waste from sugar processing (bagasse) to simultaneously generate heat and electricity (cogeneration) to feed into the grid, but developments have evolved over several decades with complex dynamics between different actors. A multi-level perspective is used in this paper to examine this process and to extract policy lessons for other countries. The analysis shows how policies influenced the development of the bagasse cogeneration niche and changes in the sugar and energy regimes over time. The formation of independent power producers, centralisation of sugar mills, the use of a complementary fuel (coal) in the off-crop season, and targeted financial incentives were important for the development of bagasse cogeneration in Mauritius. Mauritian sugar mills are at the forefront of niche technological and organisational innovations in response to recent reduction in sugar prices. The country has been able to respond to changes and manage niche innovations strategically due to the deployment of finance, technical expertise and strong governance structures which enabled the government to coordinate with industry. Therefore, local capacity and institutional context are important for managing transitions towards sustainable energy.

Keywords: Renewable energy; Multi-level perspective; Mauritius; Cogeneration; Africa

Citizens and communities in the futures of energy

Matthew J. Burke, Jennie C. Stephens, Political power and renewable energy futures: A critical review, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 78-93, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Inspired by the energy democracy movement, this conceptual review critically explores relationships between concentrated or distributed renewable energy and political power. Advocates assert that because the renewable energy transition is fundamentally a political struggle, efforts to shift from fossil fuels and decarbonize societies will not prove effective without confronting and destabilizing dominant systems of energy power. The objectives of this paper include: 1) theorizing and exploring the relationships between renewable energy and political power, 2) critically assessing tensions associated with an energy democracy agenda, and 3) drawing out the implications for democratizing renewable energy development in practice. Distributed energy-politics posits that distributed energy sources and technologies enable and organize distributed political power and vice versa. Efforts are underway to find ways to re-organize distributed energy flows into aggregated and concentrated stocks of energy and other forms of political power. More democratic renewable energy futures may benefit from strengthening democratic practices and outcomes, extending democratization of energy systems across all components, stages and end uses, and sharpening positions relative to dominant pressures of capitalism and market ideology, the ideology of unlimited growth, and the modernist/industrialist agenda. Renewable energy systems offer a possibility but not a certainty for more democratic energy futures.

Keywords: Distributed power; Energy democracy; Energy politics; Renewable energy transition


Emi Minghui Gui, Iain MacGill, Typology of future clean energy communities: An exploratory structure, opportunities, and challenges, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 94-107, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: This paper considers the potential significance of ‘clean energy communities’ (CECs) in the transformation of the present socio-technical regimes underlying our centralized energy systems, towards a more distributed and decentralized future. It explains the centralized, distributed, and decentralized sub-structures, embedded in current energy systems and energy markets. We analyze long-term dynamics and possible pathways of this transition, and the co-evolution of energy systems and communities, using an exploratory structure, drawing on insights from transition theories, innovation studies, and social network concepts. This includes analysis of the various forms of CECs – including virtual power plants, peer-to-peer trading, microgrids, and community-scale energy projects – emerging in a number of developed and developing jurisdictions, including Australia. This analysis suggests that low-carbon transition pathways will be varied, driven by social, technological, and organizational contexts, and shaped by institutional change processes, and interaction with the existing regime and incumbent actors. Social and technological entrepreneurs, and utilities, operating within an environment increasingly defined by energy consumers, industry groups, and policy actors, will need to be adaptable and innovative in choosing strategic directions, associated investment decisions, establishing appropriate alliances, and acquiring resources, to meet their goals in this low-carbon energy transition.

Keywords: Clean energy community; Energy transition pathway; Distributed energy; Decentralized energy


Franziska Mey, Mark Diesendorf, Who owns an energy transition? Strategic action fields and community wind energy in Denmark, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 108-117, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: This paper investigates the development of, and changes in, the field of community renewable energy in Denmark since it commenced in the late 1970s. The focus is on community wind projects. We use an organisational and institutional theory perspective following Fligstein and McAdam’s concept of strategic action fields. Within this framework we explore the rise, decline and revitalisation of CRE fields and respond to the research question of ‘how and why the field of CRE in Denmark changed’. Input data comprise document analysis supplemented by quantitative and qualitative data analysis. The results indicate the following: firstly, the mobilisation of CRE action is closely related to normative elements of shared identification and objectives that go beyond environmental and technology motivations. Secondly the state dependence and growth trajectory requires some additional support structures that are able to reflect the unique nature of CRE projects. Thirdly, top-down measures accompanied by local approaches ensure that the acceptance of RE can be fostered through the CRE approach.

Keywords: Community renewable energy; Wind energy; Denmark; Strategic action fields


Rolando Madriz-Vargas, Anna Bruce, Muriel Watt, The future of Community Renewable Energy for electricity access in rural Central America, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 118-131, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: When a Renewable Energy (RE) power system is owned, operated or maintained by a community organisation, some of the problems associated with other rural electrification implementation models e.g. private or utility, can potentially be solved; including: lack of utility investment, barriers relating to social integration of RE technologies, lack of local maintenance capabilities, and end-user education. However, a range of challenges for community-based energy initiatives in developing countries are identified in the literature, often compromising the long-term operation of RE technologies and the sustainability of the project as a whole. Hence, questions arise around the set of community capabilities required, appropriate project design, and enabling external environment for sustainable Community RE (CRE) projects. Relatively longstanding CRE rural electrification experiences in Central America can offer useful insights on the challenges, capability requirements, and future perspectives for further deployment and governance of CRE initiatives in the developing world. In this study, a comparative analysis from case studies across Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica was undertaken after field investigation conducted over eight months. A cross-disciplinary method combining qualitative social research and techno-economic analysis of RE power systems was then used for data integration and sustainability assessment of selected case studies.

Keywords: Central America; Community Renewable Energy; Sustainability assessment; Energy future


Iain Soutar, Catherine Mitchell, Towards pragmatic narratives of societal engagement in the UK energy system, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 132-139, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Issues of societal engagement in the energy system pervade both the study and the doing of energy policy. In both realms, narratives as persuasive ‘vehicles of meaning’ help us both to make sense of society’s role in past and current energy systems, and shape these roles in future energy systems. However, our eagerness to simplify complex histories and unwritten futures means that the narratives we create are often reliant on assumptions. This has implications for the degree to which narratives can find pragmatism, and thus be valuable, to a wide range of stakeholders. Drawing both on historic accounts of societal engagement in energy systems alongside emerging discourses around future energy systems, this paper offers several points of caution for the use of narratives of engagement. In terms of historic narratives, these relate to hindsight bias, predictability, and normative positioning, the combination of which depict histories of engagement as retrospectively obvious, and falsely suggest a controllability of past events. In terms of forward-looking narratives, while optimism and ambiguity play key roles in garnering interest in visions among stakeholders, they also mean that narratives vary in their relevance, and thus value to, different stakeholders. Fundamentally, narratives must find legitimacy in the actors they purport to recruit, and must thus simultaneously attend to regulative, normative and cognitive aspects of energy system engagement.

Keywords: Engagement; Future; Narrative; Vision; Pragmatic; Consumer


Basil Bornemann, Annika Sohre, Paul Burger, Future governance of individual energy consumption behavior change—A framework for reflexive designs, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 140-151, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: With this paper, we set out to advance the understanding of governance that addresses the challenge of changing individual energy-related consumption behavior. We do so by disentangling the complexity of this challenge and paving the way to systematically approach it in terms of a governance design framework. The framework contains basic categories and reflections that, from a governance design perspective, are crucial for refining, shaping and creating governance arrangements, which aim at changing individual energy behavior. The framework not only serves analytical purposes but can also inform practitioners in designing real-world governance arrangements. Given the involved complexities, it points to the need to consider governance design as a reflexive undertaking.

Keywords: Individual energy consumption behavior; Governance design; Energy behavior governance; Behavioral change


Rico Defila, Antonietta Di Giulio, Corinne Ruesch Schweizer, Two souls are dwelling in my breast: Uncovering how individuals in their dual role as consumer-citizen perceive future energy policies, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 152-162, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: The future of energy depends on present decision-making, and present decision-making depends on assumptions about future effects of energy policy. Individuals have two roles in this: In their citizen-role they have to consent to measures and support their implementation, in their consumer-role they have to adopt and implement measures in their behaviour. Our question is, how distinct these roles are with regard to how they inform individuals’ perceptions and concerns related to energy policy options. By applying the “Futures Wheel� method we explored how individuals think future energy policy measures would impact their lives (consumer-perspective). By asking them whether and for what reasons in a voting they would say “yes� or “no� to them we inquired into their assessment of these measures from a citizens' perspective. Our results show that the two roles consumer and citizen trigger different patterns of thinking. Energy policy design and decision-making should consider both. Life quality and justice are important for individuals in both roles. The “Futures Wheel� method helps uncovering assumptions about the future individuals are unaware of and is a suitable method to explore anticipated effects of energy policy options. It might be useful to facilitate societal debate about the future of energy.

Keywords: Futures Wheel; Consumer perspective; Citizen perspective; Futures studies; Good life; Justice; Acceptance; Sustainable consumption

Visions, discourses, and ways of thinking about the futures of energy

Roopali Phadke, Green energy futures: Responsible mining on Minnesota’s Iron Range, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 163-173, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Controversial mining projects are being proposed across the U.S. in the quest for supplies of precious and rare earth elements to fuel green energy technologies, like wind turbines and electric vehicles. This new prospecting is, in part, the result of geopolitical tensions over China's export limits. While the U.S. has ample resources of rare earths, the main challenge is a lengthy permitting process that pits environmental opponents, especially native tribes, against developers who claim a "responsible" mining agenda. The article examines these tensions through a case study of Polymet's proposal for an open pit mine along Lake Superior in Minnesota. Over 80,000 public comments were submitted for and against the project, making it the most contested project in state history. The research is based on interviews, field visits, media reports and participant observation at siting hearings. The article synthesizes two emerging areas of energy social theory, the geologic turn in geography/anthropology and STS interests in responsible innovation, to reveal the new vulnerabilities and opportunities that are being coproduced with the new energy economy. I examine how stakeholders are making sense of mining's landscape and livelihood impacts, while addressing the need for just energy futures that balance short-term resource needs with long-term sustainability.

Keywords: Mining; Policy; Advocacy


Laura Tozer, Nicole Klenk, Discourses of carbon neutrality and imaginaries of urban futures, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 174-181, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: By analyzing the discourses in carbon governance texts, this paper identifies visions for the built environment in carbon neutral urban futures and the storylines driving those urban imaginaries. Local authorities have begun aiming for ‘carbon neutral’ transformations, but it is not clear what kind of city will result. Different imaginaries about the futurity of energy will send cities down divergent sociotechnical paths. Using discourse analysis, this paper identifies the storylines underlying sociotechnical imaginaries of urban carbon neutrality among the 17 founding members of the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, which is a network of local governments mainly from Europe and North America pioneering deep decarbonization. This paper elaborates on five storylines in urban carbon governance texts: 1. The diverse meanings of carbon neutrality 2. The new economy of carbon control 3. The city as a laboratory 4. Technological fixes and the modern city and 5. Reframing what it means to be a ‘good’ urban citizen. The developing sociotechnical imaginary of urban carbon neutrality is structuring shifts in policy and practice. Trends include a focus on technological fixes and innovation as solutions where private capital is a fundamental partner, as well as reflexivity about the experimental nature of achieving carbon neutrality.

Keywords: Carbon governance; Urban; Sociotechnical imaginaries; Discourse analysis


John Schelhas, Sarah Hitchner, J. Peter Brosius, Envisioning and implementing wood-based bioenergy systems in the southern United States: Imaginaries in everyday talk, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 182-192, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Bioenergy development in the Southern United States was said to promise a future with renewable energy, energy independence, expanded wood markets, and rural development. We view this vision of wood-based bioenergy as a sociotechnical imaginary involving a future where energy and rural development needs are met using sustainably-harvested local resources. While this vision has led to bioenergy development, it has not been universally shared and counter-narratives have circulated. Local people receive multiple messages and have diverse experiences with bioenergy, which affect how they interpret the imaginary. We use cultural models to examine the extent and ways that elements of the national bioenergy imaginary occurred in everyday talk in three communities where bioenergy plants had recently been developed. We show how local people articulated, responded to, and altered the national bioenergy imaginary while simultaneously drawing on diverse experiences, values, and other important social discourses. While local people had limited opportunities to alter the national imaginary, they contested and diluted it in ways that indicated that they were not fully in support of the imaginary and the development it spurred. Ultimately, this may hinder bioenergy development.

Keywords: Bioenergy; Imaginaries; Cultural models; Southern United States


Marloes Dignum, Aad Correljé, Martijn Groenleer, Daniel Scholten, Governing through visions: Evaluating the performativity of the European gas target models, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 193-204, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: In 2010 an initiative was launched to realize a competitive single EU market for natural gas through the use of a future vision. This Gas Target Model (GTM) aimed to provide direction for concrete market development through regulatory structures as well as an overarching scope of what a functioning gas market would entail. This paper assesses the use and impact of such sectoral visions. We develop a framework that builds on the sociology of expectations and foresight studies and distinguish between the envisioning process, vision content, and vision use (output). The analysis follows the development of two versions of the GTM: 2011 and 2015. We find that the GTM has a contradictory nature. The vision that feeds into regulatory structures requires a stable and uniform rule set. The overarching vision requires incorporation of long-term uncertainty and adaptability. Moreover, the sectoral focus requires alignment to adjacent sectors and wider policy considerations. This makes it difficult to set boundaries, to identify relevant actors, and to ensure commitment from these actors. We conclude that the former vision was actively pursued and materialized in Framework Guidelines and Network Codes, while the latter vision is just being identified and framed.

Keywords: Gas target model; Governance; EU gas market; Technological visions


Enayat A. Moallemi, Shirin Malekpour, A participatory exploratory modelling approach for long-term planning in energy transitions, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 205-216, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Energy transitions are complex transformation processes, which involve different actors and unfold in a deeply uncertain future. These features make the long-term planning of energy transitions a wicked problem. Traditional strategic planning approaches fail to address this wickedness as they have a predictive, deterministic, and reactive standpoint to future issues. Modelling approaches that are used within conventional contexts are perceived to be inadequate too. They often simplify the qualitative characteristics of transitions and cannot cope with deeply uncertain futures. More recently, new ways of qualitative participatory planning, as well as new approaches to quantitative modelling have emerged to enable policy analysis under deep uncertainty. We argue that qualitative participatory and quantitative modelling approaches can be complementary to each other in different ways. We operationalise their coupling in the form of a practical approach to be used for long-term planning of energy transitions. The suggested approach enables energy decision makers to test various policy interventions under numerous possibilities with a computational model and in a participatory process. We explain our approach with illustrative examples mostly from transitions in electricity sectors. However, our approach is applicable to different forms of energy transitions, and to the broader context of transition in any societal system, such as water and transportation.

Keywords: Exploratory modelling; Policy analysis; Sustainability transitions; Energy policy; Uncertainty


Georges Alexandre Lenferna, Can we equitably manage the end of the fossil fuel era?, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 217-223, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: This paper tracks the development of climate justice discourse around leaving fossil fuels in the ground. It then looks forward to the questions of equity that calls for the decline of fossil fuel production raise. It argues, following the Lofoten Declaration for a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production around the World, that global distributive justice requires rich countries, who have benefited the most from fossil fuel extraction, and who have most alternative available development pathways must lead in leaving fossil fuels in the ground. However, the paper shows that equitably managing the end of the fossil fuel era is complicated by how economic efficiency or the interests of frontline communities might at times diverge from global distributive justice. In response, the paper argues that a useful short-term strategy is to focus on how equity and economic efficiency both suggest that wealthy historically polluting countries should leave high-cost, carbon-intensive fossil fuels in the ground. Beyond that, the paper highlights how difficult questions and trade-offs emerge at points where considerations of equity and economic efficiency diverge. Such points of divergence represent a considerable challenge for advocates of an equitable decline of fossil fuel production, and are areas of significant interest for future research and advocacy.

Keywords: Stranded assets; Fossil fuels; Climate justice; Carbon bubble


David W. Cash, Choices on the road to the clean energy future, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 224-226, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: While numerous indicators may point to an optimism about a global transition to a carbon-free world, that transition can occur down divergent possible roads, driven by how the following questions about the future are answered today: Will the transition be equitable enough? Will the transition be fast enough? Will the transition be driven by 21st Century institutions and governance, or will it be stuck in the 20th Century? Lessons learned from the last century's fossil fuel system and the last several decades clean energy expansion may provide guidance down a road that is more sustainable and equitable.

Keywords: Energy transition; Energy equity; Climate change; Renewable energy


John Wiseman, The great energy transition of the 21st century: The 2050 Zero-Carbon World Oration, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 35, 2018, Pages 227-232, ISSN 2214-6296,


Abstract: Looking back from 2050, this article is written in the form of a fictional speech reflecting on the impressive progress made by 2050 towards achieving the global goal of zero net emissions. The speaker also highlights the severe and ongoing ecological damage and human suffering caused by the failure to reduce emissions with sufficient urgency in the first quarter of the 21st Century – and the ongoing challenge of implementing the actions required to bring global temperatures back below 1.5 degrees. The speech identifies the following key drivers of the ‘great 21st century energy transition’. i)Sustained leadership from national and sub-national governments, business, civil society and the military in ratcheting up and accelerating implementation of the Paris Agreement. ii)The escalating frequency and severity of catastrophic climatic events. iii) Disruptive, game changing technological innovation including in energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage and distribution, transport, construction and agriculture. iv)Disruptive, game changing innovation in social, economic and political institutions and relationships including: • increasing recognition of the importance of reducing the global consumption of goods and services; • an ongoing shift towards more distributed and collaborative economic paradigms and systems; • growing popular and political support for the global climate justice movement; • radical improvements in the transparency and accountability of democratic and governance processes; and • the mobilization of millions of citizens driving transformational change in investment flows, electoral outcomes and political choices.

Keywords: Zero carbon economy; Energy transition; Climate change policy; Backcasting narrative


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