Project

Green transitions at the local level

Goal: Contributing to the lacunae of transitions at the local level related knowledge through multi-disciplinary/trans-disciplinary research and projects.

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Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added a research item
Local energy transition processes are complex socio-technical transitions requiring careful study. The use of System Dynamics (SD) in modelling and analyzing local energy transitions is especially suitable given the characteristics of SD. Our aim is to systematically categorize the different ways SD is used and useful to scrutinize local energy transitions, and to see if we can discern any common themes that can be useful to researchers looking to scrutinize local energy transitions, using SD. The study is exploratory in nature, with peer-reviewed journal and conference articles analyzed using content analysis. The six categories on which the articles are analyzed are: the sector the article studies; the transition that is studied in the article; the modelling depth in the article; the objective of the article; the justification for using SD provided in the article and the levels of interaction with 'local'. Our findings show most of the local energy transitions have been studied using simulatable Stock and Flow Diagrams in SD methodology. The important sectors in the energy field are represented in terms of SD modelling of local energy transitions, including electricity, transport, district heating etc. Most of the local energy transitions scrutinized by SD in the articles have descriptive objectives, with some prescriptive, and just one evaluative objective. In terms of justification for using SD provided by the articles analyzed in this study, we found four major themes along which the justifications that were provided. They are dynamics, feedbacks, delays and complexity, systematic thinking, bridging disciplines and actor interactions and behavior. The 'dynamics, feedbacks, delays and complexity' theme is the most cited justification for the use of SD in scrutinizing local energy transitions, followed by systemic thinking.
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added a research item
Local energy transitions are gaining widespread attention through their contribution to sustainability, notably to climate change mitigation. Social innovation (SI) in local energy transitions have been scrutinized in multiple works, but the impact of SI on the local energy transitions is an under-studied field. The objective of this study is to put forward a method to model SI in local energy transitions. This is done using System Dynamics modelling (SDM) of the local energy transitions processes. The SDM method is to study a broad spectrum of socio-techno-natural phenomena, generally. In this study, SDM is used to capture the endogenous factors which underpin the transition processes. This study is based on two cases: solar photovoltaics (PV) diffusion in Skåne, and transition to alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) in Dalsland, Sweden. The transitions are modelled with the municipality actors providing input. Two simulation runs of the local transitions are executed, namely the Base run and No SI run, and results show that the Base run, with the municipality actors' co-creation actions, have a significant increase in the case of electric vehicles in Dalsland and higher diffusion of solar PV in Skåne. The main outcome of this study is a model to assess the possible impacts of SI on local energy transitions. Ultimately, we hope to contribute to methods of quantitatively assessing the impact of SI in local energy transitions.
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added a research item
This poster was presented in the Scenarios as Service theme of 'Scenarios Forum'. It is about the use of scenarios in working with key stakeholders and what insights can be gathered through the use of scenarios in energy modelling.
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added a research item
Energy transitions at the household level are important because there are so many households, and motives and barriers to these transitions processes are not well understood. The objective of this paper is to investigate explanatory variables of household energy transitions. We select papers investigating explanatory variables underpinning household energy transitions in three domains: adoption of solar photovoltaics (PV) in households, adoption/transition to sustainable residential heating systems (RHS) and adoption/transition to alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). In all three domains the chosen literature employ a wide variety of quantitative analyses such as discrete choice models ranging from multinomial logit models and principal component analysis to qualitative assessment of the answers through inductive analysis. The explanatory variables are categorized in six superordinate explanatory variable categories of economic factors, environmental factors, personal preferences and values, social factors, household characteristics and market and policy factors. In total we identify 31 explanatory variables which have been investigated in the 38 articles chosen, falling under the six categories. Investment cost is an important explanatory variable for all three domains, but a policy variable such as government subsidy could mitigate the former explanatory variable. We propose a conceptual framework as an initial step towards understanding the interactions and impacts of the explanatory variables with each other.
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added a research item
Co-creation in the societal sphere is becoming important in many parts of the world. Yet, empirical analysis of co-creation in local energy transitions has been understudied. This paper aims to contribute to the field of local energy transitions by integrating a model-based approach with the municipal co-creation efforts in a local energy transition setting. The study uses a mixed-methods approach, with both quantitative and qualitative methods underpinning the approach. A System Dynamics (SD) model is built to analyse the feedback loops created by the co-creation efforts of the municipalities in Skåne, Sweden to increase the uptake of household solar photovoltaics. Simultaneously, the model is conceptualized and built in coordination with the municipality actors, and qualitative validation provided by them. An iterative process is implemented, consisting of three steps: interaction with the municipality actors (MAs), developing the causal relationships between the model variables and model development. The suggestions and discussions with the MAs were very useful in understanding the social factors and processes which help in the diffusion of a technologically innovative product, such as solar PV. The MAs said that they found the explanation of the modelling variables useful in undertaking the co-creation efforts.
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added an update
Co-chairs: Sujeetha Selvakkumaran, Richard Hewitt, Carla Barlagne
Social innovation (SI) is gaining momentum in many parts of the world, in many different fields. While not a panacea, SI is a radical shift away from a mechanistic and technocratic view of solving world’s problems through technologies, proposing instead to prioritize the needs of the societies involved. In terms of the current worldwide transition to clean energy, SI is present in many forms, e.g. through community owned energy services to novel approaches to sharing costs, risks and benefits of energy production. SI is also driving decentralized power generation and distribution in many countries and increasing citizens’ participation and cooperation in energy services. While the study of SI in energy and other socio-technical transitions is gaining momentum, methodological rigour, and ontological understanding can still be greatly improved.
We believe that the proposed panel offers a necessary and timely forum for discussions around this complex and emerging theme in order to advance the boundaries of the field. The objective of this panel is to bring together academics and practitioners who study or are engaged in SI in sustainable energy transitions, whether transformative or otherwise. We welcome them to share their experiences, discuss the methods and models they have used in implementing SI in energy transitions, and describe the impacts that they have seen in societies in transition.
We invite contributions which deal with, but not limited to;
• SI methods and models implemented in energy transitions
• Case studies in emerging or less-well studied countries and regions
• SI at different geographical scales of energy transitions: local, national, regional and global
• Institutional and organisational forms for SI in energy transitions.
• The quantitative and qualitative perspectives for analysis of SI in energy transitions
• SI in community energy
• Stakeholder and participatory (dis)engagement, (dis)empowerment and (in)equity through SI in energy transitions
• Enablers and barriers for SI in energy transitions
• Quantification of impact of SI in energy transitions
• The role of connections and social networks
More information about deadlines etc. can be found here >> http://www.isircconference2019.com/call-for-papers.html
 
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added a research item
Social innovation (SI) in local energy transitions is gaining focus in current times. Empirical strains of SI are present in concepts such as energy cooperatives, grassroot initiatives , energy communities etc. Yet, they have not been explicitly analysed in the context of SI. Our objective is to characterize SI in local energy transitions processes through the study of three distinct cases. Those cases are based on energy transitions in localities in Sweden (Skåne and Dalsland) and Denmark (Hjørring). The municipality actors (MA) are engaged in increasing the adoption of solar PV systems in households, increasing the uptake of battery electric or biogas vehicles, and phasing out oil-burners in households, respectively. We use systems thinking methodology, specifically causal loop diagrams (CLD) to characterize the SI in three cases. We see shades of SI and system innovation but, there are no 'game chang-ers' or 'narratives of change', yet.
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added an update
The aim of the work presented was to determine the underlying causal loops in the local energy transition process, namely transition in the transport sector, from fossil-fuel cars to electric and biogas cars in Dalsland, Sweden, and identify the impact of the co-creation efforts taken by the municipality actors. Subsequently, we are aiming to theorize and conceptually frame co-creation in the context of local energy transitions, and qualitatively determine its impact on the transitions process. Local energy transitions and co-creation have not been analysed together, especially in the context of systems thinking. We want to fill this gap, given the importance social welfare states place on co-creation. We use causal loop diagramming. We use the CLDs as a tool in our semi-structured interviews with the municipality actors. We use the interview method to question the municipality actors about the representation of the transitions processes and factors, and question them about their co-creation actions, and the impacts they have witnessed. The determination of the underlying feedback loops in the local transitions case is an iterative process, with multiple interviews with the municipality actors. Thus, we are trying to incorporate a participatory modeling framework into our methodology, in determining the causal loops in the AFVs transition process.
 
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added an update
The presentation of the solar PV diffusion case in Skåne, Sweden.
 
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added an update
We hope to contribute and participate in the following conferences this year:
1. International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) Conference taking place from 13 - 15 June in Messina, Italy. We will be presenting our case from Skåne, Sweden.
2. International System Dynamics Society (ISDS) Conference taking place from 6 - 9 August in Reyjavik, Iceland. We will be presenting our case from Dalsland, Sweden.
3. International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC) taking place from 3 - 5 September in Heidelberg, Germany. We will be presenting our case from Hjørring, Denmark.
 
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added 2 research items
Co-creation and social innovation are vital aspects of New Public Governance. Yet, co-creation in the local energy transitions sphere have been under-theorized and under-utilized. While empirically similar phenomena such as community energy, community power plants, grassroots movements etc. exist in literature, the use of co-creation and co-creation efforts in effecting local energy transitions is not present. This paper aims to contribute to the field of energy transitions by integrating a model-based approach with the municipal co-creation efforts in a local energy transition setting. For this, the researchers have carried out a study with municipality officials in the county administrative division of Skåne, Sweden, who are trying to increase the uptake of solar photovoltaics (PV) electricity generation in single or two-family dwellings. For this study, co-creation is defined as the municipal and private actors' joint efforts to solve common problems through the constructive exchange and application of experience, resource, skills and ideas. The study uses a mixed-methods approach, with both quantitative and qualitative methods underpinning the approach. The quantitative component is a System Dynamics (SD) model built to analyse the feedback loops created by the co-creation efforts of the municipalities in Skåne, Sweden to increase the uptake of household solar photovoltaics. The model is conceptualized and built in coordination with the municipalities, and qualitative validation provided by them. The discussions with the municipality officials is through both informal and formal non-structured interviews. The co-creation actions of the municipality are modelled as feedback loops, including the tax concessions and investment grants which are accorded to the citizens of the county. The preliminary simulation results highlight the importance of co-creation in this local energy transitions case, and elevate the municipal co-creation efforts, especially given the high pay-back times of solar PV in Skåne. At the same time, this study also codifies a methodology to incorporate co-creation into a quantitative local energy transitions model. The novelty of this study lies in expanding the study of co-creation using a model-based theory-building approach.
We aim to determine the underlying causal loops in the local energy transition process, namely transition in the transport sector, from fossil-fuel cars to electric and biogas cars in Dalsland, Sweden, and identify the impact of the co-creation efforts taken by the municipality actors. Subsequently, we are aiming to theorize and conceptually frame co-creation in the context of local energy transitions, and qualitatively determine its impact on the transitions process. Local energy transitions and co-creation have not been analysed together, especially in the context of systems thinking. We want to fill this gap, given the importance social welfare states place on co-creation. We use causal loop diagramming. We use the CLDs as a tool in our semi-structured interviews with the municipality actors. We use the interview method to question the municipality actors about the representation of the transitions processes and factors, and question them about their co-creation actions, and the impacts they have witnessed. The determination of the underlying feedback loops in the local transitions case is an iterative process, with multiple interviews with the municipality actors. Thus, we are trying to incorporate a participatory modeling framework into our methodology, in determining the causal loops in the AFVs transition process.
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added a research item
The objective of this paper is to better understand the local energy transitions process, given the importance of local energy transitions. A systematic literature search was conducted and 18 core and 18 peripheral papers on local energy transitions were selected. The 18 core papers were assessed using the framework given by Turnheim et al. [1]. Findings show that local energy transitions have characteristics or features which are not adequately explained by the framework used. Sources of innovation and the innovation in niches in local energy transitions are explained by socio-technical theories such as Strategic Niche Management (SNM) and Multi-Level Perspective (MLP). The pathway dynamics and the normative goals are covered by quantitative modeling studies of local energy transitions. The specific features of local energy transitions which are not adequately analysed by the existing framework are ownerships of transitions, situative governance issues, spatial scale issues, differing priorities and differing institutional structures, along with the analysis of pathway dynamics. A suggestion for extending a framework to analyse local energy transitions is proposed. Keywords: Local energy transitions, Socio-technical transitions, Transitions research, Dynamics
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added an update
We have tried to understand how local energy transitions processes have been studied in scientific literature. Findings show that local energy transitions have characteristics or features which are not adequately explained by the existing frameworks for analysing local energy transitions. Sources of innovation and the innovation in niches in local energy transitions are explained by socio-technical theories such as Strategic Niche Management (SNM) and Multi-Level Perspective (MLP). The pathway dynamics and the normative goals are covered by quantitative modeling studies of local energy transitions. The specific features of local energy transitions which are not adequately analysed by the existing framework are ownerships of transitions, situative governance issues, spatial scale issues, differing priorities and differing institutional structures, along with the analysis of pathway dynamics.
 
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added a research item
Describe, explain and generally help to understand the methods and models used to study local energy transitions.
Sujeetha Selvakkumaran
added a project goal
Contributing to the lacunae of transitions at the local level related knowledge through multi-disciplinary/trans-disciplinary research and projects.