Project deliverable Open Access
WP2 undertakes an extensive characterisation of energy system actors. Within this context, this deliverable D2.1, as part of T2.1, is essential as its objectives are to develop an energy actor-network typology and to appreciate the complexity of the factors that can play a role in the transition towards a more sustainable energy era. The T2.1 and its ‘stakeholder analysis’ is aimed at informing subsequent work packages in terms of mapping the direct and indirect influences on the energy system, and the actors that comprise it. To accomplish this, an extensive data gathering exercise has been conducted to develop insights on the energy models of Ireland, UK, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and at the EU level. In addition, a number of key energy topics were studied in greater detail, and a range of discourses on the energy transition were mapped. An extended map for each of the six countries was produced.
The extensive data gathering enabled the identification and exploration of areas of interest concerning the energy system, from nuclear phase out and promotion to fuel poverty, renewable energy deployment, energy independence and security, energy economics, political discourses, as well as capturing some influential socio-demographic factors. The multiplicity of fields that interconnect with, and within, the energy system indicates the complexity of the energy system itself, as well as some of the complexities involved in its transition to sustainability.
At an individual Member State level, the fact that all six countries studied have a different overall energy model, even though these may share, or have shared, some similar characteristics, is a further indication of the complexities involved. For example, France and Germany are now following different paths with regard to nuclear energy. In the aftermath of World War II, nuclear power was of strategic importance to both countries to enable them to reconstruct quickly and to develop their economies. However, within the past two decades both countries have diverged drastically with Germany opting to decommission its nuclear power infrastructure, while France continues to invest in, and develop, nuclear energy.
With regard to the energy transition, the position is similarly complex. Although the energy transition process is slow, each country has entered into it. This is demonstrated by the presence of similar discourses on the energy transition across the member states, as well as by the fact that they have all taken some steps towards a low carbon and sustainable energy system. However, it should also be noted that notwithstanding the moves to integrate EU energy markets, at present it seems that national factors may result in member states making their own individual energy transitions, albeit in a co-ordinated fashion. Similarities in experiences should not mask the (still) country-specific responses to energy choices – as exemplified by the divergent paths taken by France and Germany with regard to nuclear power.
It should be noted here that notwithstanding the extensive data gathering and the comprehensive mapping of significant factors that influence the energy system, what are, necessarily, absent are the discourses of communities themselves regarding the energy system, as well as the social factors, including socio- demographic factors, that impact on communities’ engagement with the energy system, and ultimately on their consumption of energy. It is the aim of ENTRUST to identify those ‘absent’ discourses and factors; and to integrate them into our understanding of the energy system. In developing this fuller understanding of the ‘human factor’ in the energy system, and in consultation with the ‘communities of practice’, we can enhance their engagement with the sustainable energy transition, and map the way forward.