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Towards renewable energy?

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Presentation on theme: "Towards renewable energy?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Towards renewable energy?
Why the energy transition should have a place Dr. Christian Zuidema Spatial Planning & Environment Faculty of Spatial Sciences University of Groningen

2 Today 1| Issue 2| Energietransition 3| Area-based innovation
4| Questions & Discussion

3 1| Issue

4 Wat we al weten We zijn zwaar verslaafd aan fossiele energie

5 Three core issues 1| Fossil fuels are not renewable and limited
We will eventually run out of them, and then what?

6 Three core issues 2| Climate change is an increasingly big issue to which the burning of fossil fuels is a big contributor We should rather use other resources

7 Three core issues 3| Geopolitical relations matter in interdependency
On whom do ‘we’ want to depend

8 Problem … Obama; Oval Office Speech 15-06-2010;
“For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered.  For decades, we’ve talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels.  And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires…

9 But it is difficult… After all: 1| We have high needs for energy
2| There are huge economic interests 3| There are important and vested interests in power 4| There are existing investments 5| We are largely unaware 6| We do not pay the real costs

10 1| We need lots of energy We have high and rising needs for energy
Food Construction User products Transport Comfort Netherlands per person: 208 GJ per year That is liter oil Or m3 gas

11 But it is difficult Fortune 2012 – biggest companies in the world 1
Royal Dutch Shell the Netherlands Petroleum 2 ExxonMobil United States 3 Walmart Retail 4 BP United Kingdom 5 Sinopec China 6 China National Petroleum Corporation 7 State Grid Corporation of China Power 8 Chevron 9 ConocoPhillips 10 Toyota Japan Automobile

12 But it is difficult Richest countries in the world (2013 Worldbank)

13 3| Vested stakes (power)
Example: Dutch government Eneco Nuon (about 25%) Delta (Zeeland) Gasterra: State (50%), Exxon (25%), Shell (25%)

14 4| Existing investments

15 4| Existing investments

16 5| We are largely unaware

17 5| We are largely unaware
22 kilograms 61 kilograms 0,2 kilograms

18 6| We do not pay the real costs
Pollution Health and human lives Taxes and subsidies Climate “The benefits of strong, early action on climate change outweigh the costs.” Climate change will affect world GDP to 5-20% a year We need about 1% of the global GDP to avoid the worst

19 The real challenge Sense of Urgency Willingess to Change
Willingness to Act Efforts Ability to Act Ability to Change Sense of Control

20 The real challenge “Problems are a complex web of interrelated actors and networks, both in a physical, economic, social and institutional sense.” “Apart from limitations to fully oversee and grasp such a complex web, ownership and power are fragmented, limiting the capacity of any actor to alter them” (De Boer & Zuidema 2013)

21 2| Transitions

22 Path-dependent / Lock-in
Dynamic equilibrium A system that has found a state in which it stays relatively stable (between certain borders). If it is also resistance to change: path-dependency & lock-in 5min

23 Transitions The idea of a socio-technical or societal ‘transition’:
A fundamental transformation from one dynamic equilibrium to another Industrial revolution Demografic transition Electricity ICT 5min

24 Transitions Involves processes of self-organisation and co-evolution, involving the linking of processes of change in various societal, economic, and technological domains This system largely changes by itself = Idea of planning by exerting control 5min

25 Transition ‘management’
Socio-technical landscape: common practices, culture, values, opinions, beliefs, assumptions, etc. - changes slowly Regimes: the existing systems of regulations, laws, infrastructure, power, contracts, organisations, etc. – tends to resist change Niches: the place where innovations take place in relative isolation – typically on a local/individual scale – so bottom-up developments – more rapid changes 5min

26 Transition ‘management’
Stimulate innovation in ‘niches’ Learning-by-doing Allow for multiple developments (not rigid) Make regimes more flexible so they can change Hope: slowly changing societal and cultural conceptions and successful niche activities (innovations/lessons) can alter the regime 5min

27 Transitions But this remains fairly abstract… what can we do in practice? Change societies and economies? Change institutions? Change the technology and physical landscapes? What about (spatial) planning then? 5min

28 An example: The Netherlands
5min CBS (2012)

29 An example: The Netherlands
% hernieuwbaar 5min

30 An example: The Netherlands
2011: 4,3% 2012: 4,5% 2013: 4,5%

31 An example: The Netherlands
2011: 4,3% 2012: 4,5% 2013: 4,5%

32 Why is it so hard?


34 75%


36 Space forces us asking questions
Can NL be 100% sustainable? Should we import sus-energy? Should we focus on other experitise? NIMBY (not in my back yard)

37 So… Transitions? Rotmans (2011): Hajer (2012): Understand the local
More than top-down by central government; not just a focus on technology! Hajer (2012): Use social innovation and entrepreneurship – people are a key issue Understand the local

38 3| Area-based innovation

39 Think spatially Energysystems are not isolated from our society and physical landscape Innovations (in niches) also do not occur in isolation Any sense of co-evolution requires the interaction between various physical or social systems – so also between the energy system and its context Framing the energy system as embedded in the physical and socio-economic landscape -> Integrated energy landscape

40 1 Understanding the challenge
Current (recent…) fossil fuel based energy system: The energy system is physically and institutionally largely seperated from other spatial and societal functions Limited visibility (underground & far away) Energy is ‘footloose’ = Space is implicit Economic affairs dominates arena Limited societal actor involvement

41 1 Understanding the challenge
System based on renewables will be different : Visible (above the ground and more space needed) Closer to people (in and around houses or towns) Towards the ‘prosumer’ Energy security – behaviour or space? Involves many societal actors and subsectors

42 2 Responding to the challenge
The area-based niche: Intergation with the local physical/spatial landscape is crucial (potentials, limits, scources, embedding, transport, storage) Integration with the local socio-economic landscape is crucial (support, synergies, investments, producers-consumers)

43 2 Responding to the challenge
Thinking spatially and seeing energy as a visible element in the landscape - Connections between functions, land uses, actors, interests are all literally becoming visible - Local qualities and identities can be connected

44 Integrated energy landscape:
Helps for understanding where to do what?

45 Integrated energy landscape:
Helps for understanding where to do what? Oven Pool School Voetbal Elderlyhome School Houses

46 Integrated energy landscape:
Helps to see how the energy-system might be integrated in the physical-spatial and socio-economic landscape | Regional development

47 Integrated energy landscape:
Helps to see how the energy-system might be integrated in the physical-spatial and socio- economic landscape | Identity & Participation With the development of institutional & social capital Networks Partnerships Local sustainable energy companies Institutional barriers become visible

48 Integrated energy landscape:
Provides direction to policies Not monofunctional ‘energy’ but an integrated vision Not one sub-sector, but a broad societal endeavor Relation local context crucial Top-down and bottom-up

49 Conclusions The framing of a ‘niche’ within ‘transition thinking’ should include ‘area-based’ innovations and practices Thinking spatially helps us identify linkages between societal subsystems, both in terms of barriers (allocation) and opportunities (synergie) Thinking spatially helps us understand the problem of shifting to a sustainable energy system and provides direction towards a response

50 4| Questions & Discussion

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