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SusTrans - Sustainable Transitions

Project period
1. January 2010 - 30. June 2014
Partners
Technical University of Denmark, Universities of Copenhagen, Aalborg and Aarhus in cooperation with research groups from universities in Eindhoven, Munich and Nottingham.
Website
www.sustrans.dk

Description

Modern societies are facing the challenge of a transition towards low carbon energy systems, in order to meet the ambitious objectives set in climate policies. The aim of this strategic research alliance is to develop a practice-oriented perspective on how to cope with these challenges in different societal arenas. This will include a conceptualization of the dynamics of transition processes, and an analysis of why instruments - as e.g. incentives, regulation and institutions – either succeed or fail to facilitate dynamics of transition and thereby implement the desired changes. Transition of the path-dependent, socio-technical regimes in the energy system is a governance challenge, since transitions need to occur simultaneously in different arenas without necessarily having a specific ‘centre’ of co-ordination. Changes of regimes require innovative breakthroughs in technology, changes of institutional frames and changes in social practices, but also increased utilisation of well known solutions is important. However, technological opportunities and visions are not automatically realised. The overall strategy of the research alliance is to work with cross-cutting issues of transition at four key transition arenas in society: policy, households, companies and cities. Through an integrative combination of historical analysis, case studies and action research, the research project will analyse the roles of socio-technical experiments, creation and utilisation of ‘windows of opportunity’ and stabilisation of changes in societal niches into regime transformation. The alliance provides knowledge and methods to enable different stakeholders’ development of governance strategies in order to handle and navigate through the complex and conflicting nature of transition processes.