The so-called energy transition – the integration of the German electricity, heat, and mobility sectors into a nation-wide grid with both centralized and decentralized structural elements, which is fed by renewable energy sources – is an enormous challenge for society. The construction of large geothermal or biomass plants through to small-scale photovoltaic modules on their own roofs affects citizens just as much as the expansion of energy grids and the associated changes in spatial structure do. Added to this are factors such as regulatory framework conditions or changing consumption patterns.
The basic idea behind the project “Energy transformation in dialogue” is that a sustainable energy system can only be achieved if accompanied by a good level of information of those affected and real opportunities for participation. The project intends to contribute to an overall societal understanding of the energy transition – by providing and processing information, offering advice and further training, and bringing together very different actors from research and society.
To this end, ITAS’s transdisciplinary experts use various knowledge transfer and participation formats. With varying scope and intensity of participation, these formats address both the general public and specific stakeholder groups such as civil society, NGOs, public administration, the energy sector, trade and industry, local authorities, but also teachers, energy consultants, students, and so-called early adopters. They include in detail:
- informational and explanatory videos,
- a “sustainable energy” tour,
- energy scenario workshops,
- transdisciplinary project Courses,
- a citizens’ forum on energy transition, and
- real-world experiments.
All these measures can only be successful if the dialogue on the energy transition initiated and intensified in the project is not a one-way street. On the one hand, it is about imparting knowledge and initiating learning processes, but on the other hand it is also about sharing impulses from society with the researchers to make them fruitful. The Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis will use its experience, competences, and structures related to Karlsruhe’s two internationally renowned real-world labs “District Future – Urban Lab” and “Urban Transition Lab 131”.
To consolidate and institutionalize the “Energy transformation in dialogue” project and other activities of bidirectional knowledge transfer, KIT establishes the “Karlsruhe Transformation Center for Sustainability and Cultural Change.” As of 2020, the center will be an independent institution providing the infrastructure and expertise for conducting knowledge dialogues, further training, and consultation, as well as for research, teaching, and innovations for sustainability transformations. KIT and the Helmholtz Association aim at realizing one of the first permanent real-world labs worldwide – and, in this way, a beacon of sustainability transformation.
Further information on the current project activities can be found here: www.dialog-energie.de