We provide practical solutions by carrying out holistic technology assessments from inter- & multi-disciplinary perspectives, and model future developmental pathways and strategies for sustainable transition.
The energy sector forms the backbone of societal development and touches all the facets of the society directly or indirectly. In recent years, the sector has confronted with many multifaceted challenges, such as, rapid depletion of fossil fuels, climate change, air pollution, nuclear risks, energy security issues, equity issues, uncertainty in energy supply and intermittency of renewable sources - among others. The traditional way of approaching the challenges of energy sources in isolation and the landmark rule that became popular since industrial revolution, i.e., divide & analyze- is not working anymore, simply because of the complexity and inter-and multi-disciplinary nature of energy sector and hence the challenges faced by it. This underscores the necessity to look at energy sector from "Systems" perspective, while taking into account the environmental and societal factors. The Energy & Sustainability Research group at SusPoT just does that via application of 21st century scientific methods and tools.
What makes a technology sustainable than others? What kinds of technologies favor sustainable transition and how can we develop and deploy them? What are the tradeoffs in choosing renewable energies over conventional fuels and vice versa? These are some of the basic questions that guide the activities of this group. We aim at providing practical solutions by carrying out holistic technology assessments from "Systems" perspective. As part of our work, we use various scientific methods and tools, such as, Life Cycle Assessment (in accordance with DIN EN ISO 14044 and 14040), Integrated Assessment and System of Systems approach based Multi-Criteria Analysis techniques - among others.
The transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energies requires a technological and political transformation together with a social and behavioural one. In this context, we want to develop Energy Cooperative models of renewable energy systems able to distribute their positive impacts within communities and at the same time empower people, enabling a broadening range of involved actors to participate and make decisions.
Energy Cooperatives offer a promising opportunity to have a broader approach, encompassing more than only the supply of energy. This is because if decisions are taken in a participatory way, positive impacts in several areas can be improved: social, environmental, economic, quality of life, etc. It could also contribute to build community and to distribute more equally the benefits of energy access, among others. Our research on Energy Cooperatives aims to identify their (dis)advantages, requirements, opportunities and hindrances, in order to be able to assist interested groups in the development of such systems as well as to collaborate on the development of policies that support and incentivize them. In this way, we want to contribute to shape a fair world in which people have greater self-determination, economic independence and sustainable energy access.
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