- freely available
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5558; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205558
2. Literature Review on Perspectives on (Energy) Transitions
2.1. The Techno-Economic Perspective
2.2. The Technical Innovation Systems Perspective
2.3. The System Innovation Perspective
- In a first layer, techno-economic modelling is used to derive a comprehensive vision on the energy transition specified for different subdomains (cf. Figure 1) of the energy system. The potential contributions of these different domains to the goal of realising a low-carbon economy by 2050 are calculated by the models in light of externally imposed political long-term transition objectives; first and foremost, the ambition to transform the Flemish economy into a low-carbon economy by the year 2050 (i.e., GHG emissions should be reduced by at least 80% compared with 1990 levels).
- In a second layer, the TIS framework is used as a guiding framework for a series of specialised stakeholder workshops. The aim of the workshops was to elicit, for a selection of so-called ‘solution categories’ (provision of low-temperature heat for the built environment, energy supply, provision of high-temperature heat for industry, and matching supply and demand), the main barriers, opportunities, and actions needed for each of the seven innovation system functions in order to accelerate the energy transition along desired transition pathways.
- In a third layer, insights from the system innovation perspective are used to describe fundamental barriers pertaining to the different solution categories related to an inherently resistant energy regime characterised by rigid structures, cultures, and practices.
- “Sustainable low-temperature heat and cooling for the built environment”: this solution category groups all technological options regarding heat and cold supply that are discussed for the built environment and heat networks;
- “Sustainable energy supply”: this solution category groups all wind energy solutions, photovoltaic energy, nuclear phase-out, and sustainable biomass (The solution category ‘making the supply of energy sustainable’ originally also included the provision of high temperature heat in industry. However, owing to the major uncertainties involved in the nature and scale of future industrial activities and the lack of specific roadmaps for Flemish industry, and also because a TIS analysis would require specific in-depth knowledge on these industries, the stakeholders/experts felt unable to go into any more depth on barriers and opportunities for the Flemish industry. In the remainder of this paper, we thus consider energy efficiency in industry to be ‘out of scope’);
- “Aligning energy demand and supply”: this solution category groups all demand response options discussed for the built environment and with regard to the central alignment of demand with supply.
4.1. Envisioning the Transition End-Points
- For existing private sector residential buildings: achieve an average energy performance factor of a maximum of 100 kWh/m2 (including a deduction for onsite RES generation) by 2050 for the whole of the building park, compared with 139 kWh/m2 today. Regarding the renovation speed, the models indicate that roughly 2% of existing buildings should be renovated per year to an energy performance level of 60 kWh/m2. These performance criteria broadly correspond to the criteria embedded in the Flemish ‘Renovation Pact’ (https://www.energiesparen.be/renovatiepact) that envisions renovation of the current building stock leading, both on the level of the building envelope and on the level of the heating installation;
- For collective social housing: already reach the performance level of 100 kWh/m2 by 2040;
- For the trade and services sector: a fully energy-neutral (i.e., zero net energy consumption on a yearly basis considering heating, domestic hot water production, cooling, and lighting) building park by 2050;
- For public buildings: be energy neutral by 2040.
4.2. Barriers and Opportunities from a TIS Perspective
4.3. System Level Barriers from a System Innovation Perspective
- A large part of the current gas infrastructure has a long life span (up to 100 years), is adapted to the supply of regular natural gas, and is difficult to adapt to renewable alternatives. This partly explains why the business case for power-to-gas applications in Flanders (syngas, H2) is currently not viable . This also provides a competitive advantage of gas over renewable heat alternatives and resistance to change in the form of sunk costs.
- The current building stock—owing to the relatively low degree of insulation and dominant types of heating systems—is badly adapted to the envisioned low-temperature heat supply .
- The fragmentation of spatial planning (the so-called ‘ribbon development’) does not optimally match with a low temperature heat supply that is better suited for dense urban areas .
4.3.2. Regulatory Structures
4.3.3. Energy Culture
- Lack of urgency and attitude–behaviour gap: On the one hand, surveys (http://www.energiesparen.be/sites/default/files/atoms/files/grafisch%20rapport%202017.pdf) reveal that 9 out of 10 Flemish people consider energy saving to be important. On the other hand, the urgency seems to be lacking. On the basis of surveys, the Flemish government (https://www.vlaanderen.be/nl/publicaties/detail/beleidsnota-2014-2019-energie) states that there is a large gap between energy awareness and behaviour among households, for example, in the field of housing renovation. Also, the awareness-raising and policy incentives towards SMEs have been unsuccessful, illustrating that the average SME is “not always concerned with energy” . Research in the Netherlands  shows that the lack of urgency about renewable energy may be partly fuelled by the misperception of current shares of renewable energy (33% as perceived versus 5.6% in reality in the Netherlands).
- The acceptance of relatively large-scale sustainable energy technologies: People oppose the installation of, for example, wind farms or geothermal plants in their neighbourhood, because of hinderance . Procedural issues like the lack of (or late) participation of inhabitants and the lack of perceived local benefits may fuel the perception of an unfair distribution of project costs and benefits . According to the authors of , resistance arises especially when core values—concerns about safety, ecological consequences, costs and effectiveness, restriction of freedom of choice, and reduction of comfort—are at stake.
- The dominant economic rationale for investment decisions: People tend to prefer short-term gains over long-term benefits. This works against sustainable energy solutions that often have a relatively high investment cost ‘upfront’, with main benefits like low operational costs emerging over the long term .
4.3.4. Energy Practices
Conflicts of Interest
- IEA. International Energy Agency CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion 2017-Highlights; International Energy Agency: Paris, France, 2017; p. 162.
- Verbruggen, A.; Laes, E.; Lemmens, S. Assessment of the actual sustainability of nuclear fission power. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2014, 32, 16–28. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- European Commission In-depth analysis in support on the COM(2018) 773. A Clean Planet for All—A European Strategic Long-Term Vision for a Prosperous, Modern, Competitive and Climate Neutral Economy; European Commission: Brussels, Belgium, 2018. [Google Scholar]
- International Energy Agency. Tracking Clean Energy Progress; OECD/IEA: Paris, France, 2017; p. 116.
- York, R.; Bell, S.E. Energy transitions or additions? Why a transition from fossil fuels requires more than the growth of renewable energy. Energy Res. Soc. Sci. 2019, 51, 40–43. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Jespers, K.; Al Koussa, J.; Dams, Y.; Renders, N.; Vingerhoets, P. Inventaris Herrnieuwbare Energiebronnen Vlaanderen 2005–2016; Vlaams Energie Agentschap: Brussels, Belgium, 2018; p. 98.
- European Environment Agency. Perspectives on Transitions to Sustainability; European Environment Agency, Ed.; EEA Report; Publications Office of the European Union: Brussels, Belgium, 2018; ISBN 978-92-9213-939-1. [Google Scholar]
- Loorbach, D. Transition Management: New Mode of Governance for Sustainable Development; Greenleaf Publishing: Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2007; ISBN 978-90-5727-057-4. [Google Scholar]
- Grin, J.; Rotmans, J.; Schot, J.W.; Geels, F.W.; Loorbach, D. Transitions to Sustainable Development: New Directions in the Study of Long Term Transformative Change; Routledge Taylor & Francis Group: New York, NY, USA, 2010; ISBN 978-0-415-87675-9. [Google Scholar]
- Frantzeskaki, N.; Loorbach, D.; Meadowcroft, J. Governing societal transitions to sustainability. Int. J. Sustain. Dev. 2012, 15, 19. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Loorbach, D. Transition Management for Sustainable Development: A Prescriptive, Complexity-Based Governance Framework. Governance 2010, 23, 161–183. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Turnheim, B.; Berkhout, F.; Geels, F.; Hof, A.; McMeekin, A.; Nykvist, B.; van Vuuren, D. Evaluating sustainability transitions pathways: Bridging analytical approaches to address governance challenges. Glob. Environ. Chang. 2015, 35, 239–253. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Geels, F.W.; McMeekin, A.; Pfluger, B. Socio-technical scenarios as a methodological tool to explore social and political feasibility in low-carbon transitions: Bridging computer models and the multi-level perspective in UK electricity generation (2010–2050). Technol. Forecast. Soc. Chang. 2018. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Dijk, M.; de Kraker, J.; van Zeijl-Rozema, A.; van Lente, H.; Beumer, C.; Beemsterboer, S.; Valkering, P. Sustainability assessment as problem structuring: Three typical ways. Sustain. Sci. 2017, 12, 305–317. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Cherp, A.; Vinichenko, V.; Jewell, J.; Brutschin, E.; Sovacool, B. Integrating techno-economic, socio-technical and political perspectives on national energy transitions: A meta-theoretical framework. Energy Res. Soc. Sci. 2018, 37, 175–190. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Hekkert, M.P.; Suurs, R.A.A.; Negro, S.O.; Kuhlmann, S.; Smits, R.E.H.M. Functions of innovation systems: A new approach for analysing technological change. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Chang. 2007, 74, 413–432. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Hekkert, M.P.; Negro, S.O. Functions of innovation systems as a framework to understand sustainable technological change: Empirical evidence for earlier claims. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Chang. 2009, 76, 584–594. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Rotmans, J.; Van Asselt, M.; Molendijk, K.; Kemp, R.; Geels, F.; Verbong, G. Transitions and Transition Management. The Case of an Emission-Low Energy Supply; ICIS: Maastricht, The Netherlands, 2000. [Google Scholar]
- Geels, F.W. Technological Transitions and System Innovations: A Co-Evolutionary and Socio-Technical Analysis; Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, UK, 2005; ISBN 978-1-84542-009-3. [Google Scholar]
- Loorbach, D.; Frantzeskaki, N.; Avelino, F. Sustainability Transitions Research: Transforming Science and Practice for Societal Change. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 2017, 42, 599–626. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Söderholm, P.; Hildingsson, R.; Johansson, B.; Khan, J.; Wilhelmsson, F. Governing the transition to low-carbon futures: A critical survey of energy scenarios for 2050. Futures 2011, 43, 1105–1116. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Laes, E.; Couder, J. Probing the usefulness of technology-rich bottom-up models in energy and climate policies: Lessons learned from the Forum project. Futures 2014, 63, 123–133. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Giannakidis, G.; Karlsson, K.; Labriet, M.; Gallachóir, B.Ó. (Eds.) Limiting Global Warming to Well Below 2 °C: Energy System Modelling and Policy Development; Lecture Notes in Energy; Springer International Publishing: New York, NY, USA, 2018; ISBN 978-3-319-74423-0. [Google Scholar]
- Höschle, H.; Cadre, H.L.; Smeers, Y.; Papavasiliou, A.; Belmans, R. An ADMM-Based Method for Computing Risk-Averse Equilibrium in Capacity Markets. IEEE Trans. Power Syst. 2018, 33, 4819–4830. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Holtz, G.; Alkemade, F.; de Haan, F.; Köhler, J.; Trutnevyte, E.; Luthe, T.; Halbe, J.; Papachristos, G.; Chappin, E.; Kwakkel, J.; et al. Prospects of modelling societal transitions: Position paper of an emerging community. Environ. Innov. Soc. Transit. 2015, 17, 41–58. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Chappin, E.J.L. Simulating Energy Transitions; TUDelft: Delft, The Netherlands, 2011. [Google Scholar]
- Geels, F.W. The multi-level perspective on sustainability transitions: Responses to seven criticisms. Environ. Innov. Soc. Transit. 2011, 1, 24–40. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Lachman, D.A. A survey and review of approaches to study transitions. Energy Policy 2013, 58, 269–276. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Kemp, R. Technology and the transition to environmental sustainability: The problem of technological regime shifts. Futures 1994, 26, 1023–1046. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Köhler, J.; Geels, F.W.; Kern, F.; Markard, J.; Onsongo, E.; Wieczorek, A.; Alkemade, F.; Avelino, F.; Bergek, A.; Boons, F.; et al. An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions. Environ. Innov. Soc. Transit. 2019. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Geels, F.W.; Schot, J. Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways. Res. Policy 2007, 36, 399–417. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Valkering, P.; Laes, E.; Deweerdt, Y.; Vandenbroeck, P.; Nevens, F. Milieuverkenning 2018: Achtergronddocument Naar een Diagnostiek van Systeemverandering. Available online: https://www.milieurapport.be/publicaties/2018/milieuverkenning/milieuverkenning-2018-Naar-een-diagnostiek-van-systeemverandering (accessed on 22 January 2019).
- Thomas, D.; Mertens, D.; Meeus, M.; Van der Laak, W. P2G Roadmap for Flanders—Final Report; WaterstofNet vzw: Turnhout, Belgium, 2016. [Google Scholar]
- Cardinaels, W.; Laes, E.; Valkering, P. Visievorming Voor Multi-Energiediensten; EnergyVille: Genk, Belgium, 2018. [Google Scholar]
- Cornet, M.; Duerinck, J.; Laes, E.; Lodewijks, P.; Meynaerts, E.; Pestiaux, J.; Renders, N.; Vermeulen, P. Scenarios for a Low Carbon Belgium by 2050; Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment: Brussels, Belgium, 2013. [Google Scholar]
- Meinke-Hubeny, F.; de Oliveira, L.; Duerinck, J. Energy Transition in Belgium: Choices and Costs; EnergyVille: Genk, Belgium, 2017. [Google Scholar]
- Linear Consortium. Linear—Demand Response for Families; EnergyVille: Genk, Belgium, 2014; p. 136. [Google Scholar]
- Laes, E.; Lodewijks, P.; Renders, N.; Vanhulsel, M.; Vingerhoets, P.; Goossens, J.; Ooms, K. Milieuverkenning 2018: Achtergronddocument Oplossingsrichtingen Voor Het Energiesysteem. Available online: https://www.milieurapport.be/publicaties/2018/milieuverkenning/milieuverkenning-2018-oplossingsrichtingen-voor-het-energiesysteem (accessed on 7 December 2018).
- International Energy Agency. Transition to Sustainable Buildings: Strategies and Opportunities to 2050; International Energy Agency, Ed.; IEA Publisher: Paris, France, 2013; ISBN 978-92-64-20241-2. [Google Scholar]
- Wauters, E.; Dhondt, A.; Fremout, B.; Corens, P. De Rol Van Ruimtelijke Ordening in de Klimaat-En Energietransitie: Verkenning, Uitgevoerd in Opdracht Van Het Vlaams Planbureau Voor Omgeving; Departement Omgeving: Brussels, Belgium, 2017.
- Vlaamse Regering. Energieplan 2021–2030; Vlaamse Regering: Brussels, Belgium, 2018. [Google Scholar]
- Eyre, N. External costs: What do they mean for energy policy? Energy Policy 1997, 25, 85–95. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- McLaughlin, C.; Elamer, A.A.; Glen, T.; AlHares, A.; Gaber, H.R. Accounting society’s acceptability of carbon taxes: Expectations and reality. Energy Policy 2019, 131, 302–311. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Tvinnereim, E.; Mehling, M. Carbon pricing and deep decarbonisation. Energy Policy 2018, 121, 185–189. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Heilmayr, R.; Bradbury, J.A. Effective, efficient or equitable: Using allowance allocations to mitigate emissions leakage. Clim. Policy 2011, 11, 1113–1130. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Zeng, Y.; Weishaar, S.E.; Vedder, H.H.B. Electricity regulation in the Chinese national emissions trading scheme (ETS): Lessons for carbon leakage and linkage with the EU ETS. Clim. Policy 2018, 18, 1246–1259. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Ministerie van Economische Zaken. Energierapport—Transitie Naar Meer Duurzaam; Ministerie van Economische Zaken: The Hague, The Netherlands, 2016. [Google Scholar]
- Megatrends: Ingrijpend, maar ook ongrijpbaar? Hoe beïnvloeden ze het milieu in Vlaanderen? Available online: https://www.milieurapport.be/publicaties/2014/megatrends-ingrijpend-maar-ook-ongrijpbaar-hoe-beinvloeden-ze-het-milieu-in-vlaanderen (accessed on 22 January 2019).
- Perpermans, G.; Loots, I. Wie Wind Zaait Zal Storm Oogsten; Universiteit Antwerpen: Antwerp, Belgium, 2011. [Google Scholar]
- Laes, E.; Mayeres, I.; Renders, N.; Valkering, P.; Verbeke, S. How do policies help to increase the uptake of carbon reduction measures in the EU residential sector? Evidence from recent studies. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2018, 94, 234–250. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Shove, E. Converging Conventions of Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience. J. Consum. Policy 2003, 26, 395–418. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- MIRA System Balance. 2017. Available online: https://en.vmm.be/publications/system-balance-2017 (accessed on 5 June 2019).
- Valkering, P.; Laes, E.; Gölz, S.; Yamasaki, Y.; Waschto, M. Final Report on the Analysis of the Heating and Cooling Consumers and Recommendations in Terms of New Business Models and Regulatory Framework; European Technology and Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling: Brussels, Belgium, 2018. [Google Scholar]
- Davidson, D.J. Exnovating for a renewable energy transition. Nat. Energy 2019, 4, 254. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Scott, W.R. Institutions and Organizations: Ideas and Interests; SAGE: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA, 2008; ISBN 978-1-4129-5090-9. [Google Scholar]
- Ferguson, B.; Brown, R.; Deletic, A. A Diagnostic Procedure for Transformative Change Based on Transitions, Resilience, and Institutional Thinking. Ecol. Soc. 2013, 18, 57. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Fortes, P.; Alvarenga, A.; Seixas, J.; Rodrigues, S. Long-term energy scenarios: Bridging the gap between socio-economic storylines and energy modeling. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Chang. 2015, 91, 161–178. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- De Haan, J.H.; Rotmans, J. Patterns in transitions: Understanding complex chains of change. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Chang. 2011, 78, 90–102. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
|Innovation System Function||Explanation|
|F1—Entrepreneurial activities||Entrepreneurs are key actors for transforming (technological) innovations into new business models. These entrepreneurs can be either new start-ups or incumbent firms. By testing innovations in new markets, social learning processes are instigated.|
|F2—Knowledge development||Development of knowledge about functioning and performance of the innovation, not only in a purely technological sense, but also as related to functioning in new (niche) markets, user experiences, applicable regulations, and so on.|
|F3—Knowledge diffusion||Processes of knowledge exchange such as networks, collaborations between different partners, conferences, workshops, and co-creation activities. Knowledge diffusion not only relates to the exchange of technology-specific information, but also exchanges between companies, government, academia, and civil society about broader aspects of the technological innovation (e.g., findings about user interactions, new business models)|
|F4—Guidance of the search||This key process summarizes all the activities and events that convince actors to enter the TIS or to further invest in it. A positive expectation about the development of the technology is the main aspect here.|
|F5—Market formation||As (technological) innovations generally face difficult competitive conditions with incumbent technologies, the creation of temporary market protection is usually necessary for the technology to further develop and to gain market share. Favourable tax regimes, guaranteed consumption quotas, environmental standards, government procurement policies, and so on can all be used as protective instruments.|
|F6—Resource mobilisation||Financial and human resources need to be mobilised to enable the building of the innovation system; and complementary assets need to be developed, such as complementary products, services, and network infrastructure.|
|F7—Support from advocacy coalitions||(Technological) innovations often struggle with overcoming the reluctance of the incumbent regime to change. Therefore, advocacy coalitions need to be formed to enable the entry of the innovation on the political agenda and to lobby for resources.|
|Structures||The formal, physical, legal, and economic aspects of functioning restricting and enabling practices.|
|Cultures||The cognitive, discursive, normative, and ideological aspects of functioning involved in the sense-making of practices.|
|Practices||The routines, habits, formalisms, procedures, and protocols by which actors, who can be individuals, organisations, companies, and so on, maintain the functioning of the societal system.|
|Targets||TIS Enablers||SCP Enablers|
|Low temperature heat supply||Renovation:|
0 kWh/m2 public/commercial
|Housing pass (F5—Guidance of the search/Resource mobilisation)|
ESCO (F1—Entrepreneurial experimentation)
Base cadastral income on energy performance and location (F4—Market formation)
Ensure data availability (F2—Knowledge development; F3—Knowledge diffusion)
Vision forming and strategic policy implementation at the local level (F5—Guidance of the search)
|Create urgency, for example, by focusing on the property value (risk of non-action) (Culture)|
Split incentive policy (Regulatory structure)
Relieve initial investment barriers (ESCO, low interest loans) (Structure/Culture)
|Renewable Heating and cooling:|
3 GW geothermal
|Local heat zoning plans (F7—Creating advocacy coalitions)||Urban densification policy (Infrastructure)|
Electricity taxation reform (Regulatory structure)
CO2 pricing (Regulatory structure)
Educate installers (Culture)
Better anticipate on windows of opportunity (Practices)
|Renewable electricity production||General||Create a large market for the existing renewable solutions (F4—Market formation)|
Binding target at EU level (F5—Guidance of the search)
Phasing out of nuclear energy (F4—Market formation; F7—Creating advocacy coalitions).
|Dominant focus on cheap electricity and security of supply|
Dominant focus on short-term profits (e.g., relying on existing production assets)
|Offshore wind: 5.5 GW capacity||Development of a modular grid or ‘power socket at sea’ (F2—Knowledge development; F3—Knowledge diffusion).|
Constructing an ‘energy hub’ in the North Sea (F5—Guidance of the search; F7—Creating advocacy coalitions).
|Electricity grid investment (Infrastructure)|
|Onshore wind: 8 GW capacity||‘Fast-lane’ government initiative to find low nuisance locations (F1—Entrepreneurial activities)|
Local policies to support local wind energy projects (F7—Creating advocacy coalitions).
|Create shared ownership of local renewable energy (Culture), for example, by supporting cooperative structures (Regulatory structure) Create a sense of fairness (Culture)|
14 GW capacity
|Policy initiatives, such as remote net metering, solar sharing, or replacing roofs containing asbestos with PV roofs (F4—Market formation).|
Provide clarity on the revision of the regulations for prosumers (F5—Guidance of the search)
Further develop ‘building-integrated PV’ (F2—Knowledge development).
|Provide regulations for solar sharing (Regulatory structure)|
No possibility to sell surplus electricity to the grid (regulatory structure)
Relieve initial investment barriers (ESCO, low interest loans) (Practices)
|Matching demand and supply||Reduce battery environmental impact (F2—Knowledge development)|
Develop solutions based on ‘curtailment’ or smart control of local production (F2—Knowledge development)
Boosting of the ‘business engine’ of storage technologies (F4—Market formation)
|Roll-out of smart meters (Infrastructure)|
Enable dynamic pricing (Regulatory structure)
Distribution rate reform (Regulatory structure)
Regulation on collective use of local renewable energy (e.g., LECs)
Stimulate mind shift from yearly energy bills to self-consumption and billing on a daily basis (Culture)
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).