The Community-Centric Energy Transition is a six-day, state-of-the-art, energy course that consists of three modules. Each module takes up two days of your time, with five to six sessions per module.
14 and 15 March 2019
11 and 12 April 2019
16 and 17 May 2019
Classes are taught in English by, amongst others, the following professors:
- Prof. Albert Bressand, International Strategic Management (co-chair)
- Prof. Kees Hummelen, Photovoltaics
- Prof. Machiel Mulder, Energy Economics (co-chair)
- Goda Perlaviciute, Environmental Psychology
Prof. Martha Roggenkamp, Energy Law
- Prof. Ton Schoot Uiterkamp, Energy Systems Analysis
- Dr. Christian Zuidema, Spatial Planning and Energy
Instruction takes place at The Energy Academy Building, Zernike Campus Groningen, the Netherlands.
An overview with short descriptions of the three modules is presented below. In addition, you can view the programme in pdf.
Module 1 – demand shifts
The demand side at the heart of an increasingly decentralised energy system
In the first module you’ll be introduced to the demand-centric perspective on the coming stage of energy transition. In a spirit of cross-fertilisation between economic, social, psychological and engineering analysis we’ll put a rigorous, interdisciplinary framework in place.
Day 1. You’ll be provided with fundamental tools and references in the economics of energy demand, consumer behaviour and the decentralisation of some aspects of energy decision making. We’ll introduce you to the roles of communities, cities and local governments, in their international, cultural and historic contexts.
Looking at the consumption of energy from different perspectives
- Physics: energy systems in a historical perspective
- Economics: energy users as consumers
- Politics: energy consumption of local communities
- Psychology: energy users as human beings
Marketing: energy users as customers
Day 2. We’ll further develop the consumer-centric part of analysis, with emphasis on the ways in which we can deploy renewable energy. We’ll place community-level action in the general perspective of the reasons for the modalities of and the challenges facing the overall energy transition. You’ll begin working in teams to lay the basis for your own concrete output.
Defining the impact of technology on energy demand
- Wireless electricity generation
- Smart electricity systems
Two case studies:
- Solar energy as a local community project
- Geothermal energy and heating of houses
Module 2 – supply shocks
Policy and supply in decentralised energy systems
The framework in which energy supply is mobilised in Europe reflects increasingly far-reaching legal and regulatory instruments, to the point of defining the energy transition as “an intervention of society in energy markets” (Machiel Mulder). Ignoring political correctness, in the second module we’ll explore the interplay between technology push and policy pull, and how the mix of technology and policy will or won’t dovetail with expectations from the demand side.
Day 1. We’ll present fundamental building blocks in assessing the progress towards a decentralised energy supply system. Learning from revolutions that happened (and did not happen), we combine conceptual mapping with a look at concrete experiences, happening on the Zernike campus, notably regarding energy efficiency and the built environment.
Exploring the conditions for supply
- Physical laws and constraints
- Local policies
- Legal frameworks
- Economic conditions: markets
- Game: Energy transition and emissions trading
Day 2. We’ll spend the day in a local community, known for its pacesetting initiatives. You’ll be involved in discussions, regarding the variety of objectives and motives that can support local energy initiatives. Also, you’ll get a chance to compare the official national positive discourse on decentralised energy transition with the many obstacles that face initiatives outside the official paths.
Defining the impact of technology on supply
- Geothermal resources and carbon capture
- Innovation in solar technologies
- Biogas and hydrogen
Excursions (in 2 groups)
- Solar energy project
- Geothermal projects
Module 3 – innovative business models
Innovation in business and organisational models
In the third module we’ll explore new modes of organisation (at city level, as well as in transition-promoting companies and society) that can maximise the transition in an economically sustainable manner.
Day 1. We start with the experiences of the municipality of Groningen in fostering a diversity of initiatives. We’ll discuss the role of prosumer communities in connection with key enabling infrastructures, such as smart grids and the transformation in the value proposition of incumbent utilities. This meso-level analysis includes a discussion of legacy energy system and missing building blocks in storage, remuneration for capacity, consumer acceptance, system stability and energy security.
Exploring the consequences of decentralisation
- 3 perspectives: physics, economics and politics
- Consequences for spatial policy
- Consequences for business organisations
- Outlook for local cooperatives
- Legal and policy perspective
Day 2. We’ll bring the course to its conclusion by drawing lessons from concrete local experiences, reviewed actor-strategies, and putting the transdisciplinary conceptual framework in place. We’ll discuss shortcomings with a view of accelerating the much-needed energy transition in directions supportive of local initiatives, across the diversity of fields at stake. Working in teams, you’ll finalise your own set of recommendations and – before receiving your certificate – discuss them with the leading faculty.
Applying insights for solving the cases
- Innovation in electricity networks
- Innovation in heating systems
Final presentations by participants on the two cases
- Solar energy project
- Geothermal heat
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