The project „Energiewende.NRW – Bürger gestalten den Umbau des Energiesystems” belongs to the research cluster “Governance & Participation” and is part of the Virtual Institute (VI) “Transformation – Energy Transition NRW”. The project idea is based on a participation-oriented implementation of the energy transition in North Rhine-Westphalia under consideration of a multi-level perspective.

Project

„Energiewende.NRW – Bürger gestalten den Umbau des Energiesystems”

The German energy transition influences various spheres of life of citizens in North Rhine-Westphalia. For example, the energy transition bases on technological developments, policy frameworks or new business strategies, user practices and lifestyles. The analysis of these complex changes, i.e. transitions, is embedded into transition research, where transitions are analyzed using the multi-level perspective. Since transitions mirror radical and structural changes on a regime, the question arises how transitions find their way from niche to the implementation in regime. The multi-level perspective encompasses various forms of transitions and helps to answer this exact question, for example, how new user practices are established.

So far, concepts such as social innovations, narratives and “field tests” (Real-Labore) were not included in the multi-level perspective, moreover, there are only limited research approaches in these fields, especially with regard to the energy transition in North Rhine-Westphalia. The implementation of the project thus fills a gap in research and meets the specific political-cultural nature of North Rhine-Westphalia. This is also reflected in the implementation of the project idea, which is processed in a research design that puts empirical and theoretical work into relation and includes practical tests. The leading research questions are:

  1. Where and how can social innovations inspire the energy transition?
  2. What might be new forms of participation and what is their basis? On which social narratives do they base? Which narratives are viable?
  3. How can a multilevel approach be processed so that it serves as a guiding construct for the energy transition?
  4. How can practical ideas and impact(s) be achieved on this basis?

Funding: Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research (MIWF)

Project Partners: Social Research Centre – Central Scientific Institute of Technische Universität Dortmund (Prof. Dr. Jürgen Howaldt, Jürgen Schultze, Franziska Krüger); University of Wuppertal (Prof. Dr. Hans J. Lietzmann, Dr. Volker Mittendorf, Anna Nora Freier); Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (Katja Pietzner, Benjamin Best), Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Prof. Dr. Claus Leggewie, Dr. Steven Engler, Saskia Dankwart-Kammoun)

Duration: April 2015 – April 2017

Overall Coordination: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Howaldt (TU Dortmund / Social Research Centre (sfs))