Situative governance and energy transitions in a spatial context: case studies from Germany

Gerhard Fuchs, Nele Hinderer
2014 Energy, Sustainability and Society  
While the traditional form of electricity generation and supply is based on centralized structures with large-scale power plants, the objective of a strongly decentralized form of energy supply is increasingly becoming of importance. Sustainability-oriented energy transitions are relying on various sorts of renewable energies coupled with energy efficiency initiatives. In the current existing regulatory and market frameworks in Germany and elsewhere, important technical and institutional
more » ... ions for energy transitions were and are being developed, tested, and brought to application on regional and local levels. Regions, cities, and villages experimenting with socio-technical innovations and aiming to implement new concepts have to develop governance structures under high uncertainty. These governance structures mirror space-specific social, political, technological, and economic constellations. The present paper introduces an analytical approach for studying emergent forms of governance and uses four cases from Germany to apply the approach. Research is based on a comparative case study research design, using primarily expert interviews and document analysis as data sources. The cases demonstrate that sustainable energy transitions are driven forward by a variety of actors with different aims and interests, culminating in the development of space-specific technological mixes and situative governance structures. Sustainable energy transitions are not following a master plan or are coordinated on a national level. The upper political levels and external events pose severe constraints for the implementation of local transition initiatives. Future research should further aim to highlight and analyze the contentious character of local energy transitions.
doi:10.1186/s13705-014-0016-6 fatcat:yz63zxi3jbexhc3rhtovcmavka