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Jochen Markard: "Sustainability transitions in the energy sector: Conceptual challenges and emerging lines of research" (11.01.2016)

Jochen Markard hielt am 11.01.2016 einen Vortrag zum Thema "Sustainability transitions in the energy sector: Conceptual challenges and emerging lines of research" und leitete somit das Jahr 2016 für die "Aktuellen Debatten der Soziologie" ein.

Logo "Aktuelle Debatten der Soziologie"

Zum Thema:

The energy sector is changing fundamentally. New technologies such as wind, solar, smart grids, energy storage or electric vehicles are diffusing rapidly, thus complementing and partly even substituting the use of fossil and nuclear fuels. Also, existing institutional structures and organizations are in turmoil, including major changes in business models, value chains, ownership structures, social practices, markets and regulations. Moreover, the ongoing energy transition is also associated with sustainability issues: it is driven, among others, by concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, clean air, nuclear risks, energy prices, energy independence etc.

Drawing from the broader literature on socio-technical transitions, I will frame the energy transition as an example of so-called sustainability transitions. I will introduce some of the key particularities of the energy transition and discuss implications for analysis and theory building.

The current energy transition is characterized by a high degree of uncertainty and complexity, strong vested interests and lock-in, a key role for public policy, and a variety of context-dependent transition pathways. Moreover, it involves and affects a broad range of technologies, institutions and actors.

As a consequence, researchers have to address issues such as continuing struggles over problem definitions and solutions, politics and power of incumbent actors, systemic interaction of multiple technologies, crossovers to adjacent sectors, or variation across places and contexts.

I will illustrate my arguments with findings from recent research projects related to the energy transition in Germany and Switzerland.

(Der Vortrag findet auf Deutsch statt.)


Zur Person:

Dr. Jochen Markard studierte von 1988 bis 1994 Elektrotechnik an der Ruhr-Universität in Bochum. Im Anschluss machte er einen wirtschaftlichen Abschluss mit Fokus auf Energiewirtschaft. Markard promovierte 2003 an der ETH Zürich im Fachbereich für Umweltwissenschaft mit einer Arbeit über Innovation und Marktliberalisierung. Von 2003 bis 2012 war er wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Eawag-Institut in der Abteilung Umweltsozialwissenschaften, wo er Leiter der Forschungsgruppe für Innovationssysteme und Transition Management war.