Designing Socially Inclusive Low-Carbon Energy Systems
This project explores how social acceptance and energy justice aspects may be included in energy- and power system models
Case study of social acceptance of wind energy in Norway. Photo: Wind turbine at Kjøllefjord wind farm by Statkraft
About the project
Energy system models are mathematical representations of energy systems, which based on input data present cost-optimal solutions to how the studied energy system may be designed. The models may cover the entire energy system or, as is our focus, the electricity system (power system models). The models produced are useful tools that generate techno-economic details and provides stakeholders with important insight for designing energy policies.
However, one of the current challenges of energy modelling lies in capturing social aspects of energy systems, such as political will, behavioral aspects and public acceptance. Critics have pointed out that the modelling results may be unreliable and inaccurate as e.g. behavioral and political drivers of energy demand and policy is underrepresented in comparison to the techno-economic detail of the models.
Improving these models to better account for social aspects present an opportunity to inform policy-makers on how long-term changes in energy systems may affect different groups of society and how to design socially just and inclusive energy systems.
We contribute to this new sub-field of energy modelling by focusing on justice implications of a Norwegian low-carbon power system in 2050 and the importance of socially accepted technologies and transition pathways.
In particular, we will approach the topic through a case-study on the social acceptance of wind power in Norway with the help of the energy justice framework.