Energy transition processes take a very long time. One of the reasons is the huge inertia of existing systems and the unwillingness of very powerful regime actors to quickly move into new directions. Entrepreneurs with novel ideas often do not posses the power to break through these inert techno-institutional complexes. Therefore they need to develop specific strategies in order to become successful. This proposal focuses on the fundamental mechanism that strongly influences all energy transition processes: the interplay between strategies of entrepreneurs who strive to introduce novelty and strategies of incumbents who have strong vested interests and therefore often resist these processes of change. The two types of actors differ strongly in their respective power positions and therefore very different strategies are likely to be pursued. The government is often confronted with the strategies of both type of actors and needs to find a balance in dealing with both interests. Surprisingly hardly any information on this issue can be found in literature while this is crucial information to accelerate transition processes. The main research question of this proposal is:
We will study three empirical domains that strongly differ in the structure of the incumbent regime: the automotive sector, the oil and gas regime and the built environment.
In the GIST project we study the conditions for decarbonization of energy-intensive natural resource-based industry (ENRI) and explore possible pathways for governing industrial transformation.
Climate change is currently being reframed from an emissions problem to an energy system problem emphasizing ways for decarbonizing social structures and practices that generate carbon emissions. So far climate policy efforts have predominantly been geared towards achieving set emissions reduction targets, while the decarbonization of key socioeconomic sectors such as ENRI has yet not been addressed.
The GIST-project focus on ambitious long-term structural transitions if ENRIs in Sweden by exploring mitigation options, integration aspects, and potential development pathways and governance/policy strategies. The project will address the need for greater scientific understanding of long term transitions in industry and the energy system (as well as associated institutions), more knowledge about the prospects for decarbonising basic industry, as well as the interdependencies of basic industry and the energy system, and the prospects for their co-evolution.
Our aim is to make scientific contributions on theory and method for the transition of energy-intensive natural resource-based industry, its interplay with the energy system, and provide a basis for future governance and policy strategies.
Nordic Pathways for Sustainable Transport and Energy
This four-year research project is initiated and funded by Nordic Energy Research (Nordisk Energiforskning) as part of the Sustainable Energy Systems 2050 research funding programme. It is led by NIFU, the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, along with Nordic partnersfrom Lund University, The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland.
To meet 2050 energy and climate policy goals, a major transition is required in the Nordic region. Indeed, changing energy and transport systems may require fundamental social changes. Industrial actors and policy makers will need insights and analyses to help guide their decision-making throughout this process; and, these analyses will have to take account of concerns of environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness
The TOP-NEST project has developed an approach that addresses this challenge, by clarifying the current situation, and identifying the most promising pathways for towards more sustainable systems.
The project seeks to:
You can read more about the project here.