Nadejda Komendantova who leads the IIASA Cooperation and Transformative Governance (CAT) Research Group, has been invited to be the presenter of the next seminar of the Oxford Energy series. Her talk titled “Participatory Governance and Social Factors in the Energy Transition” addresses the question what is the current potential for polycentric governance and the opportunities for the co-production of energy policy given the general public’s existing levels of awareness and willingness to participate. 

Achieving a degree of or full decarbonization of energy and electricity generation will transform systems from centrally planned with energy generation and demand centers located close to each other, along with fossil fuel technologies as a baseload to more diversified energy generation systems.

This will lead to new energy producers entering the market, and consumers becoming prosumers.  New forms of energy generation will emerge, as well as digital and smart technologies. There will still be a need to manage peaks of supply and demand while also considering the volatile nature of energy generated from the RES.

All of this will lead to the creation of distributed energy systems and social innovations around the generation, transmission, and distribution of energy.  As this becomes less centralized, the communities and people who live in them and use these technologies will gain influence.

The emergence of distributed energy systems could lead to a polycentric governance energy policy and a need to reframe the discourse from a focus on technologies to a focus on the acceptance of social innovations and new forms of governance.  This includes co-production in the generation and management of energy.

Around the center question that this talk addresses -- what is the current potential for polycentric governance and the opportunities for the co-production of energy policy given the general public’s existing levels of awareness and willingness to participate -- three more questions emerge:

  • What is the general public’s level of awareness of climate change and the targets of energy policy?
  • What are the perceptions and attitudes of citizens regarding energy policy for decarbonization of the energy sector?
  • How, if at all, would ordinary people like to engage in decision-making processes and the implementation of various measures foreseen by energy policy?

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