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Voss Konrad Truffer

Voss Konrad Truffer

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Published by: Caro on Jun 16, 2013
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Sustainability Foresight
Reflexive governance for energy transformation
 Jan-Peter Voß 
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, Kornelia Konrad 
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, Bernhard Truffer
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Öko-Institut - Institute for Applied Ecology, D-10115 Berlin,www.sustainable-transformation.net ,www.oeko.de   j.voss@oeko.de 
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Centre for Innovation Research in the Utility Sector, Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental  Science and Technology, CH-6047 Kastanienbaum,www.cirus.ch,www.eawag.ch  kornelia.konrad@eawag.ch,bernhard.truffer@eawag.ch
 Paper presented at 4S-EASST Conference25-28. August 2004, Paris
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 Introduction
Energy systems are of great importance for the sustainability of industrial society. Yet, they are particularly difficult to change.This is due to close interlinkages between natural resources,technology, institutions, concepts and values which make up afunctioning configuration of entwined production andconsumption patterns. Interdependencies between the variouselements and reliance of society on the provision of energy servicesmake it hard to find ways to introduce radically new andsupposedly more sustainable patterns – such as energy provision based on renewable sources and increased efficiency instead of fossil and nuclear based supply. Furthermore, it is difficult topredict what will happen to the system if parts are substituted and what exactly is needed for a new system to function. Incumbentinterests make use of these uncertainties typical for complex socio-technical systems by emphasising the security of supply as anargument against changes in the structure of the system.This paper focuses on the electricity system as part of theoverall energy system in industrialised countries. According to theabove mentioned reasons electricity regimes have resisted any kind of change to their basic structure for decades – be it attemptsto introduce competition for more efficiency and lower energy prices or more sustainable forms of provision such as decentralcombined heat and power production or demand sidemanagement. Since the mid-1990s, however, electricity systemsentered into a process of accelerating structural change. Thischange has been the accumulated result of various pressures onthe established regime, culminating in liberalisation andprivatisation of the formerly semi-public monopolistic industry.This new phase of structural dynamics creates opportunities formore sustainable configurations but also risks of new pathdependencies with adverse ecological, social or economic impacts.In the following we present and discuss an approach to deal with the specific challenges that are linked to ongoing socio-technical transformation, path-dependency and sustainability. The
 
Sustainability Foresight 3
approach is entitled Sustainability Foresight and comprises thefollowing three steps:(A) Exploration of transformation dynamics: Construction of alternative paths of transformation in participatory scenario workshops, identification of highly dynamic fields of innovation.(B) Sustainability assessment: Elicitation of evaluation criteriaheld by different stakeholders and discursive assessment of innovations with respect to sustainability impacts.(C) Development of strategies: Analysis of options andconstraints for actors to shape transformation, development of measures to modulate innovation processes with respect tosustainability.The method was developed and is currently being probed in theGerman utility system. By utility system we refer to the provisionof electricity, natural gas, water and telecommunications.
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Thesesectors show similar characteristics with respect to stability,change and sustainability as described for electricity. TheSustainability Foresight method aims at providing a platform forcollective, future oriented learning across the sectors and differentaction domains of production, consumption and regulation.The approach was developed against the background of fundamental challenges linked to bringing about sustainabledevelopment which are particularly acute in the context of thetransformation of complex socio-technical systems like electricity.Conventional problem-solving routines which are based on amechanistic steering paradigm cannot be applied in this case, because the central underlying presumptions do not hold. Whereas conventional problem-solving requires
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The work is supported through the programme on socio-ecologicalresearch by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research( www.sozial-oekologische-forschung.org). The project title is „Integratedmicrosystems of supply. Dynamics, sustainability and shaping of transformation processes in network-bound infrastructures [
 Integrierte Mikrosysteme der Versorgung. Dynamik, Nachhaltigkeit und Gestaltungvon Transformationsprozessen in netzgebundenen Versorgungssystemen

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