Menu

Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

How local communities can transition to sustainable energy systems

What makes for a successful transition to a low-carbon energy system? Local involvement, perceived fairness and information sharing, according to new research from Lund University in Sweden.
wind-turbine-image.jpg

The researchers studied two cases, one in Samsø (Denmark) and one in Feldheim (Germany) of successful implementation of low-carbon energy systems. Samsø is the world’s first 100% renewable energy-powered island, and has been labelled as one of the most inspiring examples of a sustainable energy community.  Feldheim was the first energy self-sufficient settlement in Germany, with community-owned electricity and heating grids that are wholly supplied by local renewable energy. The village is portrayed as an energy transition model for small communities, and an example of the successful integration of a community energy system.

The implementation of low-carbon energy systems is crucial for the transition to sustainable cities and communities. In spite of that, there is often opposition from the public when it comes to planning and implementation.  

In a new study recently published in the Journal of Applied Energy, researchers from Lund University studied which factors play a role in the transition to low-carbon energy systems and how communities and decision makers deal with conflicts during the transition. 

The researchers found that the key to achieving these two successful transitions was the involvement of the local population, and the opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process.  The researchers also found indications that a fair, transparent and open process might be more important than the distribution of project benefits.

– We found that intensive information and consultation processes were critical to overcome social, technical and economic barriers to implementation. We also found it was important for the communities to find fair solutions for those who were burdened with either negative or positive effects, says Henner Busch, researcher at The Department of Human Geography and one of the authors of the study.  

The study highlights what policy makers, project developers and practitioners need to take into account during the planning and implementation phases. This specifically provides valuable insights into how low-carbon energy transitions can be effectively managed, and how communities can respond to the challenge of energy transitions.

“Perceived fairness by those affected by the change is pivotal to increasing the perceived legitimacy of transition outcomes. If this is done correctly, even contested projects can be realised. This includes that stakeholders find the space to discuss and disagree. Communication channels and information sharing are therefore of prime importance”, concludes another author, Professor Luis Mundaca, from the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

The article is featured in a Special Issue on Energy Justice in the Journal of Applied Energy: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261918302848 

The research was conducted by Luis Mundaca, Henner Busch and Sophie Schwer as part of the Pufendorf IAS Theme Energy Justice. 

Luis Mundaca, Professor

The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

+46 46 222 02 57

luis [dot] mundaca [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

Sophie Schwer

The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

Sophie [dot] Schwer [at] gmx [dot] de

Henner Busch, Postdoc

Department of Human Geography, Lund University and

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

henner [dot] busch [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se

 

Text: Lotte Billing, lotte [dot] billing [at] kommunikation [dot] lu [dot] se

Latest news

12 June 2018
Forskare granskar klimatpolitiken
Forskare granskar klimatpolitiken
5 June 2018
City Futures - samverkan akademi och praktik för hållbara lösningar
City Futures - samverkan akademi och praktik för hållbara lösningar
5 June 2018
Book release: Urban Living Labs – Experimenting with City Futures
Book release: Urban Living Labs – Experimenting with City Futures
1 June 2018
New research article on low-carbon energy transitions attracts media attention
New research article on low-carbon energy transitions attracts media attention
29 May 2018
Local governance of greenhouse gas emissions from air travel
Local governance of greenhouse gas emissions from air travel


International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

Telephone: + 46 46 222 00 00 Fax: + 46 46 222 02 10