The Swiss Energy Strategy 2050 is accompanied by a comprehensive restructuring of the energy supply system. The interdisciplinary EDGE-project has the overall objective to model these future energy systems for three model regions - the Swiss cities, the midlands and the alps - and to ensure, that by 2050, when ambitious shares of renewable energy are reached, the Swiss energy system is designed and operated in an optimal and safe way.
Within this project, Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen and her team are well equipped to address questions of policy acceptance among the population as well as on cantonal policy effectiveness. Previous research shows that social acceptance depends on the specific design of policies and projects, but also on procedural factors and local conditions. The results of this comparative research on Swiss cities, midlands, and alpine regions will help to identify socially and politically feasibly implementation pathways of renewable energy solutions.
This project is funded by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy within the framework of SWEET funding programme. More information can be found here.
The share of renewable energy has been constantly growing over the last years. A sustainable energy transition is associated with various technological, economic, social and environmental challenges. The goal of this interdisciplinary research project is to determine what is needed to ensure energy security in a sustainable and resilient manner, as well as to illustrate the trade-offs between competing goals related to this transformation of the energy sector.
The political science perspective, for which Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen and her team are responsible, contributes to the project assessing how relevant political actors evaluate proposed scenarios and analysing the role of information for political stakeholders’ acceptance of resilient and sustainable scenarios. Moreover, gaming approaches will be used to study individual behaviour in future energy contexts.
In the Energy Strategy (ES) 2050, approved at the ballot in May 2015, Switzerland has defined ambitious goals, which include a transition of the energy system from fossil/nuclear towards renewable energies. Seasonal or long-term thermal energy storages (STES) are used to transfer heat from summer to winter for heating purposes and are one central element of this energy transition. While other countries have already largely invested in STES, Switzerland’s dissemination of STES reduces to few demonstration type installations. This project builds on the argument that the reason for this is not a lack of technology, but hinges on the social acceptance of STES solutions. In this interdisciplinary project, political scientists and engineers are therefore working together on the overarching research question of how the breakthrough of long-term thermal storage in the residential sector in Switzerland can be achieved by analyzing the preferences of stakeholders and their acceptance of the technology.
This project is funded by the Sinergia scheme of the Swiss National Science Foundation and, beyond Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen and her team, involves researchers from HSLU, PSI, OST, and Interface Luzern.
Global warming and the unsolved issues in nuclear power technology (e.g., nuclear waste disposal, security) challenge the global community to change the energy supply and reduce energy consumption. In this context, increasing the share of renewable energy is seen as indispensable to solve the energy supply dilemma. This new orientation faces various challenges not only on a technical, but also on a political level. We argue that the governmental decision as such does not automatically induce energy turnaround. In order to make change happen, renewable energy projects and innovative policy instruments enhancing them have to be accepted and realized at the regional and local level. This is the starting point of this research project asking how effective policy change towards renewable energy can be achieved. We argue that – besides technology acceptance by the market – the acceptance of policies and instrument mixes is a crucial pre-condition for project success. Empirically, and via a comparative case study, social network analysis, and experimental survey design, we aim identifying the drivers and obstacles of alternative electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind, geothermal and small scale hydro power).
This project was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) within the framework of the National Research Programme "Managing Energy Consumption" (NRP 71).
More information here and here.