Fundamental change is needed
The Nordic countries are aiming to achieve fossil independence or carbon neutrality in the energy sector by 2050. This will not only require the identification of technical solutions to cut fossil usage: these countries will have to find strategies that strengthen, rather than hinder, their competitiveness throughout this transition. This sets up major challenges:
Identifying viable transition pathways
The project aims to clarify realistic, effective options for change in organisational and institutional conditions, with a focus on:
This is aimed at supporting the Nordic countries to:
Ultimately, the analyses should not only help key actors weigh up the potential of various interventions and changes, but establish an approach that can help stakeholders in different settings make more informed decisions for energy systems and sustainability.
Mapping the present to understand the future
The project focuses on three kinds of technology:
It draws together expertise on these key energy technologies with social scientists’ insights on innovation and social change, and involves a combination of quantitative (energy modeling, social network analysis, bibliometric and patent analysis) and qualitative methods (interviewing and focus groups).
By bringing these perspectives and data sources together, it will develop future energy and road transport scenarios for each technology platform, and offer new analyses of:
1) Prospective sustainable energy systems 2050: identifying viable combinations of technological configurations, stakeholder constellations and institutional set-ups. These will be based on existing future energy and road transport scenarios (both global and Nordic) for each technology platform (i.e., electricity systems, liquid and gaseous biofuels, and hydrogen systems). The analyses will include a prospective view and ‘creative thinking’ in order to identify novel and unexplored combinations.
2) Viable transition pathways: identifying options for change in organizational and institutional conditions. This will encompass governance implications in terms of industrial strategies, public policy and public-private cooperation that are needed to realize the viable transition pathways that follow from the first objective. In doing this, we will focus on the potential need for coherence and integration across different policy domains (most notably energy and transport) and countries (both across the Nordic countries and vis-a-vis the EU).
This process of building up realistic, detailed scenarios will be undertaken via a number of work packages focusing on different energy platforms and using different methods.