Informative Material

Project informative material

Manifesto for a governance of Energy Transition

Manifesto for a governance of Energy Transition

Dec 20, 2015
“Two major challenges are impending upon Europe’s energy future: the achievement of a secure energy supply, and a move from dependency on non-renewable to a reliance on renewable energy sources. The challenges call for energy transitions: changes that concern entire energy systems, not just some of their parts. These changes are structural, as they modify the way energy provision is organized at the level of society. They are radical, since they may demand abandoning existing technologies even if they still work. And the changes are fundamental, because they require that we start thinking in novel ways about energy, its provision, and how a good and just society is organized around energy.

Transitions do not only pose technological challenges, but involve enormous social, political and economic changes as well. Changes concern market relations, social and institutional roles and responsibilities, and the emergence of new actors. Most policy documents and future visions focus on economic, geopolitical and technological changes. Insofar as social processes are concerned, they are discussed at an aggregate and undifferentiated way: as a human factor, which is at best the receiver of policies and economic transactions, and at worst a residual category containing the overflows of economic and technological interventions. However, this human factor deserves more substantive attention: much more light is to be shed on people and the many roles they take. People are an important resource of relevant knowledge. Because of the far-reaching consequences of energy transitions, it is vital to make use of the widest possible range of knowledge: not only technological and scientific
expertise, but also local, practical and even tacit knowledge, knowledge created by civil society, and anticipatory perspectives on how society should be organized. First, this wide range of knowledge is needed to identify problems and threats to secure and low-carbon energy provision. Second, it is needed to project and implement necessary changes. And third, it is needed to anticipate the wider consequences, both of the challenges addressed by energy transitions, and of the changes made by those very transitions.”