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Research Integrated Research on Energy, Environment and Society | IREES Research



COMETS (Collective Action Models for the Energy Transition and Social Innovation) is filling the knowledge gaps around citizen engagement in the energy transition to renewable sources by investigating and quantifying the aggregate contribution of Collective Action Initiatives (CAIs) in the energy sector at both national and European levels. [link to (external) project website].

Contact person: F. (Franco) Ruzzenenti.

COVID-19 and Climate Change

Government policies during the COVID-19 pandemic have drastically altered patterns of energy demand around the world. Many international borders were closed and populations were confined to their homes, which reduced transport and changed consumption patterns. Also, government actions and economic incentives postcrisis will likely influence the global CO2 emissions path for decades. Those stimuli could either be a threat to global climate change or a jumpstart to achieve a net-zero energy economy. The large amount of liquidity introduced into the market can either reinforce the carbon lock-in effect by investing in the carbon-intensive sectors or go to clean energy sectors to escape the path dependences of fossil fuel-based production and consumption. The most carbon-intensive scenario would increase 5-yr global emissions (2020 to 2024) by 16.4% (23.2 Gt). In contrast, the ‘greenest’ scenario could reduce emissions by 4.7% (6.6 Gt), if the fiscal stimuli are allocated to high-tech industries with low-carbon technologies. Thus, governments need to be cautious when reopening the economy and designing fiscal stimulus plans. Our project provides a timely analysis on the impacts of COVID-19 and ongoing recovery plans on global climate change mitigation. [link to project website].

Contact persons : Dr. Y. (Yuli) Shan and Prof.dr. K.S. (Klaus) Hubacek .


‘Local Energy Communities: Responsible Innovation Towards Sustainable Energy’. The main objective of this project is to align social and technical innovation through investigating the innovative potential of local energy initiatives in terms of technology, social embeddedness and normativity as well as researching the innovative potential of emerging sustainable energy technologies, including their social and normative dimensions. [link to project website].

Contact person: H.J. (Henny) van der Windt.

Emission accounts in the developing world

Developing countries are responsible for more than 60% of global carbon emissions. They are fast-growing and playing a more and more important role in the global supply chains. Understanding their emission trends and patterns are crucial to global climate change mitigation and low-carbon transition.

Our project focuses on the fast-growing developing countries and transition economies (e.g., China, African countries and India) and discusses how they contribute to the global emissions and global climate change mitigation. [link to project website].

Contact persons : Dr. Y. (Yuli) Shan and Prof.dr. K.S. (Klaus) Hubacek.


The ENergy SYStems in TRAnsition Innovative Training Network: is the unique interdisciplinary Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, funded by the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission, targeting solutions for integrated energy systems transition. [link to project website]

Contact person: D. (Dirk) Kuiken.


ESTRAC IESA (Integrated Energy System Analysis) provides the IESA energy system modeling framework to bridge major energy modelling gaps. This project focuses on the state of the art energy system modelling development with fine temporal and technological resolutions by employing optimization, simulation, and CGE methods.

Contact person: A.P.C. (André) Faaij.

Neighborhood Heat (Buurtwarmte)

This project explores social, economic and technical questions related to district heating. By taking the user’s perspective as a starting point, the support for this type of sustainable district heating may be increased. The aim of the project is to gain insight into the processes that determine the design and execution of a heat network, the relationship between them and the possibilities for greater involvement of residents and energy cooperatives.

Contact person: H.J. (Henny) van der Windt.


Evaluation of energy storage for increased Renewables penetration with focus on Power to Gas. KSW Biomassa Colombia "Towards a long-term science and innovation collaboration between Colombia and the Netherlands in Biomass Valorisation”.

Contact person: A.P.C. (André) Faaij.

Urban carbon footprints

With the accelerating climate emergency, decision-makers need specific sub-national information on sources of carbon emissions, reduction potentials and mitigation measures. Cities, which account for 80% of global GDP, 60-80% of energy consumption, and 75% of carbon emissions, are central to global climate change mitigation and the implementation of low-carbon development strategies.

As centers of wealth and innovation, cities have resources and tools that are needed to address climate change challenges. In fact, they are increasingly at the forefront of efforts to address climate change mitigation with many signing up to frameworks for reducing GHG emissions. The urban climate actions place urgent demands on the scientific community to provide timely and useful information and knowledge of urban development, energy use, environments, human health, and ecosystem. This project provides the most up-to-date carbon footprint accounts for cities, especially those from the developing countries. [link to project website].

Previous projects:


The central objective of ADAPNER is to explore the logistics challenges and opportunities associated with a Circular Economy and inform the partners to develop and transform their business. ADAPNER will contribute to new tools for the analysis of chain processes (first sub-theme), by developing in RL1 a framework that allows us to conceptually and formally describe evolving network environments with adaptable logistics. [link to project website]
This booklet describes the context and the end results of the ADAPNER project.

Contact person: S. (Sanderine) Nonhebel


Dr. Peter Weesie was the project leader of the EDULINK-FSBA project (2013-2017) financed by the European Development Fund through the EDULINK Programme of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. Within the FSBA project, the University of Eldoret (Kenya), the University of Nigeria in Nsukka (Nigeria), the University of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and the University of Groningen worked together in the field of food security in Africa and the role of biotechnology in sustainably increasing food production. After an implementation period of 42 months, the project has come to an end in February, 2017.

Contact person: p.d.m.weesie

Environmental pressure of consumption patterns

The project is about the environmental load of Dutch household consumption and is financed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and water management. The goals is to develop a tool with which the energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and several other emissions as well as land use of households are determined. Besides this the tool should be able to give a good indication of the material use present in the consumption items. The tool must be able to determine the total environmental pressure of households but also be able to perform on a detail level: comparing different products with the same function.

Contact person: R.M.J. (René) Benders

Report (in Dutch): Milieudruk van het consumptiepatroon, EAP versie 4.
Additional spreadsheet with EAP results (in Dutch): EAP resultaten Milieudruk van het Consumptiepatroon.

Responsible innovation in Dutch potato breeding

Societal and technological development do not happen independently from each other but should rather be approached from a so-called co-evolutionary framework that considers both domains as strongly coupled and interweaved. As an example, the development of hybrid breeding technology has been part of a comprehensive socio-technical transition of agriculture that can be characterized as the global emergence of agro-industrial production chains. This development has led to a strongly polarized debate about the merits and impacts of industrialized agricultural production. > more information.

Contact person: J.A.A. (Sjaak) Swart

Last modified:06 October 2021 09.24 a.m.