Project

EnSu – Energy Sufficiency in Energy Transition and Society

Goal: The interdisciplinary research project "The role of energy sufficiency in the energy transition and society" analyses barriers, potentials and policies for energy sufficiency in Germany. It is funded by the Federal ministry for research and education (BMBF).

Date: 1 May 2020 - 30 April 2025

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Project log

Carina Zell-Ziegler
added a research item
Impact chains are used in many different fields of research to depict the various impacts of an activity and to visualize the system in which this activity is embedded. Research has not yet conceptualized impact chains specifically for energy sufficiency policies. We develop such a concept based on current evaluation approaches and extend these by adding qualitative elements such as success factors and barriers. Furthermore, we offer two case studies in which we test this concept with the responsible climate action managers. We also describe options for integrating these impact chains into different types of energy models, which are key tools in policy consulting. Wirkketten werden in vielen verschiedenen Forschungsfeldern angewandt, um die Effekte einer Aktivität aufzuzeigen und das System zu visualisieren, in das die Aktivität eingebunden ist. Ein spezielles Konzept für Wirkketten von Energie-Suffizienzpolitiken fehlt bislang. Wir entwickeln ein solches basierend auf aktuellen Evaluierungsansätzen, erweitert durch qualitative Elemente wie Erfolgsfaktoren und Barrieren und wenden es in zwei Fallbeispielen zusammen mit den verantwortlichen Klimaschutzmanager*innen an. Zudem beschreiben wir Optionen, wie diese Wirkketten in verschiedene existierende Energiemodelle integriert werden können, die Schlüsselelemente der Politikberatung sind.
Benjamin Best
added 3 research items
Sufficiency measures are potentially decisive for the decarbonisation of energy systems but rarely considered in energy policy and modelling. Just as efficiency and renewable energies, the diffusion of demand-side solutions to climate change also relies on policy-making. Our extensive literature review of European and national sufficiency policies fills a gap in existing databases. We present almost 300 policy instruments clustered into relevant categories and publish them as "Energy Sufficiency Policy Database". This paper provides a description of the data clustering, the set-up of the database and an analysis of the policy instruments. A key insight is that sufficiency policy includes much more than bans of products or information tools leaving the responsibility to individuals. It is a comprehensive instrument mix of all policy types, not only enabling sufficiency action, but also reducing currently existing barriers. A policy database can serve as a good starting point for policy recommendations and modelling, further research is needed on barriers and demand-reduction potentials of sufficiency policy instruments.
The war in Ukraine is changing the political landscape at breakneck speed. How should politics and society react to high energy prices and a precarious dependence on fossil fuels imports? Can modern societies get by with much less energy? Energy sufficiency can play an important role in answering these questions. The contributions in this Special topic explore sufficiency as an interdisciplinary research topic for energy modeling, scenarios, and policy.
The war in Ukraine is changing the political landscape at breakneck speed. How should politics and society react to high energy prices and a precarious dependence on fossil fuels imports? Can mod- ern societies get by with much less energy? Energy sufficiency can play an important role in answering these questions. The contributions in this Special topic explore sufficiency as an interdisciplinary research topic for energy modeling, scenarios, and policy.
Benjamin Best
added 2 research items
Sufficiency as a term and research field has gained increased attention in recent years. The evolving literature demonstrates various understandings of sufficiency: thought from the concept of consumption corridors, it is a way to mitigate climate change but it also is a more general approach to reach various dimensions of ecological and socio-economic sustainability and well-being for all. In relation to the potential that sufficiency seems to have for simultaneously alleviating various sustainability problems that societies are facing, it has been represented surprisingly rarely in the literature and political debate so far. Instead, efficiency and consistency strategies dominate the debate on how to deal with environmental challenges such as climate change. These strategies have received a lot of attention in the past, leading to a broad knowledge of their potentials and benefits. Sufficiency and its potentials, in contrast, are not widely known. In this respect, the literature lacks a review and synthesis of the various potentials and benefits of sufficiency. Reviewing literature from various disciplines, this paper gives insights into the main benefits of sufficiency as a political strategy and structures them comprehensibly. In summary sufficiency has important environmental benefits, contributing to climate mitigation, keeping within other planetary boundaries such as biodiversity loss and limiting resource consumption. Further, sufficiency can enable justice, health, quality of life and resilience. Relative to technical approaches, sufficiency moreover can be a fast and safe option, that also bears a potential for deeper systemic changes.
Sufficiency measures are potentially decisive for the decarbonisation of energy systems but rarely considered in energy policy and modelling. Just as efficiency and renewable energies, the diffusion of demand-side solutions to climate change also relies on policy-making. Our extensive literature review of European and national sufficiency policies fills a gap in existing databases. We present almost 300 policy instruments clustered into relevant categories and publish them as "Energy Sufficiency Policy Database". This paper provides a description of the data clustering, the set-up of the database and an analysis of the policy instruments. A key insight is that sufficiency policy includes much more than bans of products or information tools leaving the responsibility to individuals. It is a comprehensive instrument mix of all policy types, not only enabling sufficiency action, but also reducing currently existing barriers. A policy database can serve as a good starting point for policy recommendations and modelling, further research is needed on barriers and demand-reduction potentials of sufficiency policy instruments.
Private Profile
added an update
EnSu is currently executing a Germany-wide mobility survey focusing on current mobility patterns, car ownership and potential transport policies. If you are based in Germany, we are happy for survey participants and further distribution.
Gut von A nach B kommen – das geht bestimmt noch besser als heute. Ein Forschungsteam   des Wuppertal Instituts und der Europa-Universität Flensburg möchte von Euch wissen, wie Ihr mobil seid und wie sie gern hättet, Eure Mobilität der Zukunft. Jetzt mitmachen und nebenbei vielleicht einen der zehn Dankeschön-Preise im Wert von 20 Euro gewinnen!
 
Benjamin Best
added a research item
The unprecedented challenge of reaching carbon neutrality before mid-century and a large share of it within 2030 in order to keep under the 1.5 or 2 °C carbon budgets, requires broad and deep changes in production and consumption patterns which, together with a shift to renewables and reinforced efficiency, need to be addressed through energy suf-ficiency. However, inadequate representations and obstacles to characterising and identifying sufficiency potentials often lead to an underrepresentation of sufficiency in models, scenarios and policies. One way to tackle this issue is to work on the development of sufficiency assumptions at a concrete level where various implications such as social consequences, environmental co-benefits, conditions for implementation can be discussed. This approach has been developed as the backbone of a collaborative project, gathering partners in 20 European countries at present, aiming for the integration of harmonised national scenarios into an ambitious net-zero European vision. The approach combines a qualitative discussion on the role of energy sufficiency in a "systemic" merit order for global sustainability , and a quantitative discussion of the level of suffi-ciency to be set to contribute to meeting 100 % renewables supply and net-zero emissions goals by 2050 at the latest. The latter is based on the use of a dashboard, which serves as a common descriptive framework for all national scenario trajectories and their comparison, with a view to harmonising and strengthening them through an iterative process. A set of key sufficiency-related indicators have been selected to be included in the dashboard, while various interrelated infrastructural, economic, environmental, social or legal factors or drivers have been identified and mapped. This paves the way for strengthening assumptions through the elaboration of "sufficiency corridors" defining a convergent, acceptable and sustainable level of energy services in Europe. The process will eventually inform the potential for sufficiency policies through a better identification of leverages, impacts and co-benefits.
Private Profile
added 2 research items
The ambition to reach climate-neutral energy systems requires profound energy transitions. Various scenario studies exist which present different options to reach that goal. In this paper, key strategies for the transition to climate neutrality in Germany are identified through a meta-analysis of published studies, including scenarios which achieve at least a 95 % greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050 compared to 1990. It has been found that a reduction in energy demand, an expansion of domestic wind and solar energy, increased use of biomass as well as the importation of synthetic energy carriers are key strategies in the scenarios, with nuclear energy playing no role, and carbon capture and storage playing a very limited role. Demand-side solutions that reduce the energy demand have a very high potential to diminish the significant challenges of other strategies, which are all facing certain limitations regarding their sustainable potential. The level and and type of demand reductions differ significantly within the scenarios, especially regarding the options of reducing energy service demand.
Benjamin Best
added a research item
On the pathway to climate neutrality, EU member states are obliged to submit national energy and climate plans (NECPs) with planned policies and measures for decarbonization until 2030 and long-term strategies (LTSs) for further decarboniza-tion until 2050. We analysed the 27 NECPs and 15 LTSs submitted by October 2020 using an inter-rater method. This paper focuses on energy sufficiency policies and measures in the transport sector. We found a total of 236 sufficiency policy measures with more than half of them (53 %) in the transport/mobility sector. Additionally , we found 41 measures that address two or more sectors (cross-sectoral measures). From the explicit sufficiency measures within the transport sector, 82 % aim at modal shift. A reduction of transport volumes is much less addressed. Countries plan to use mainly fiscal and economic instruments. Those are in many cases investments in infrastructure of low-carbon transport modes and taxation instruments. Plans on decarbonisation measures are also frequently mentioned. The majority of cross-sectoral measures are carbon taxes or tax reforms, also economic instruments. On the one hand it is encouraging that Member States strongly emphasize the transport sector in their NECPs and LTSs-at least quantitatively and concerning sufficiency measures-because this sector has been the worst-performing in climate miti-gation so far. On the other hand, the measures described seem not sufficient to reach ambitious climate targets, and we doubt that the presented set of policy instruments will get the transport sector on track to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in the necessary extent.
Private Profile
added a research item
Energy sufficiency is one of the three energy sustainability strategies, next to energy efficiency and renewable energies. We analyse to what extent European governments follow this strategy, by conducting a systematic document analysis of all available European National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) and Long-Term Strategies (LTSs). We collect and categorise a total of 230 sufficiency-related policy measures, finding large differences between countries. We find most sufficiency policies in the transport sector, when classifying also modal shift policies to change the service quality of transport as sufficiency policies. Types of sufficiency policy instruments vary considerably from sector to sector, for instance the focus on financial incentives and fiscal instruments in the mobility sector, information in the building sector, and financial incentive/tax instruments in cross-sectoral application. Regulatory instruments currently play a minor role for sufficiency policy in the national energy and climate plans of EU member states. Similar to energy efficiency in recent decades, sufficiency still largely referred to as micro-level individual behaviour change or necessary exogenous trends that will need to take place. It is not treated yet as a genuine field of policy action to provide the necessary framework for enabling societal change.
Private Profile
added an update
For the programming of this trip generation module and for scientific support we are looking for a student/scientific assistant (in BA/MA studies) with relevant knowledge and programming capabilities (python), to start at the next possible date.
Für die Programmierung des Verkehrserzeugungsmoduls und zur wissenschaftlichen Unterstützung suchen wir zum nächstmöglichen Zeitpunkt eine studentische/ wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft (im BA/MA-Studium) mit relevanten Vorkenntnissen.
 
Private Profile
added an update
Auftaktveranstaltung
Mit mehr Suffizienz zu weniger Energieverbrauch
An drei Tagen werden wir die Rolle, Hürden und Strategien von Suffizienz in der Klimapolitik, der Modellierung von Energiesystemen und der politischen Praxis diskutieren.  
15. März 2021 – 16:00-17:30 Uhr: Suffizienz als Schlüssel für klimagerechte Energiepolitik? Einführungsvortrag: Prof. Dr. Frauke Wiese und Dr. Benjamin Best Reaktion und Einordnung: IPCC-Leitautor Prof. Dr. Felix Creutzig
16. März 2021 – 16:00-17:30 Uhr – Expert Workshop on Modelling Energy Sufficiency (EN) Expert exchange, open invitation 17. März 2021 – 16:00-17:30 Uhr – Energiesuffizienz in der politischen Praxis - Potentiale, Konflikte und Strategien Podiumsdiskussion mit  Clara Herrmann (Bd.90/Die Grünen, Bezirksstadträtin Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg) Lorenz Gösta Beutin (MdB, DIE LINKE, Vorstandsmitglied, Energie- und klimapolitischer Sprecher) Leonie Bremer (Pressesprecherin von Fridays for Future) Dr. Michèle Bättig (Suffizienzberaterin für Energiesparkommunen in der Schweiz) Moderation: Katja Diehl (Zukunftsaktivistin, #SheDrivesMobility)
> Zum vollständigen Programm und Zugangslink: http://energysufficiency.de/auftakt-workshop/
> Termine direkt in Kalender eintragen: https://ensu.punkt.cloud/s/8ajkG4KciEpHPnk/download
Wenn Sie Interesse an den Foliensätzen der Präsentationen haben, melden Sie sich gerne unter folgender E-Mail-Adresse an: bendix.vogel@energysufficiency.de
Die Veranstaltung bildet den öffentlichen Auftakt der Nachwuchsforscher*innengruppe "Die Rolle von Energiesuffizienz in Energiewende und Gesellschaft". Mehr Informationen auch auf unserer Homepage https://energysufficiency.de/.
 
Benjamin Best
added an update
Im Wintersemester 2020/21 wird erstmals die Vorlesungsreihe "Genug. Perspektiven zur Energiesuffizienz" an der Europa-Universität Flensburg veranstaltet. Interdisziplinäre Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern halten zu diesem Anlass Vorlesungen zu den Themen "Suffizienzpolitik", "Suffizienz in Szenarien" und "Modellierung und Suffizienz in der Praxis“.
Die Ringvorlesung findet als digitale Veranstaltung alle zwei Wochen donnerstags von 16:00 bis 17:00 Uhr statt. Die Vorlesungsreihe beginnt am 1. Oktober 2020 und wird im Rahmen der Nachwuchsgruppe "Die Rolle von Energiesuffizienz in Energiewende und Gesellschaft" (EnSu) durchgeführt.
Weiterführende Informationen zu der Vorlesungsreihe sowie ein ausführliches Programm sind in dem nachfolgenden Link zu finden.
 
Private Profile
added a project goal
The interdisciplinary research project "The role of energy sufficiency in the energy transition and society" analyses barriers, potentials and policies for energy sufficiency in Germany. It is funded by the Federal ministry for research and education (BMBF).