D 3.7 Report on decarbonisation in the power sector

Summary

This document presents a series of research papers which provide insights regarding how the power sector can drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions until 2050. They analyze how different flexibility options like transmission grid expansion, storage and hydrogen electrolysis can facilitate the integration of high shares of variable renewable energies; and how tighter EU-ETS targets, necessary to reach 2050 net-neutrality, could affect the power sector.

D 3.8 Report on decarbonisation in residential and services sectors

Summary

The buildings sector represents an essential component of the European energy system. In 2015, the sector consumed 38% of the European final energy. Buildings accounted for 15% of CO2 emissions, when considering only on-site emissions, and 34% when also including induced emissions from energy supply (e.g. emissions from the generation of electricity consumed in buildings). While the high level of energy consumption in buildings is a challenge for decarbonisation, it is also an opportunity as many options exist to decrease energy demand and emissions in this sector. The model developments undertaken in the INNOPATHS project and the resulting scenario analyses in Deliverable 3.8 allowed gaining important insight regarding the mitigation potential and policies in the sector:

  • The global energy landscape will undergo a paradigm change
  • A combination of technological and behavioural changes can deliver large energy demand reductions
  • The economic potential of energy efficiency is important, especially in the long term, but might be smaller than expected in the short term
  • Policies to reduce energy demand should not be delayed and should be comprehensive
  • A variety of policies is necessary to reduce energy demand, with trade-offs between economic efficiency and equity

D5.1 Synthesis report of the broad insights and analysis of WP1 and WP2

The summary for this Deliverable will be uploaded soon.

D2.5 Report on the successful management of innovation for the energy transition

The summary for this Deliverable will be uploaded soon.

D2.4 Report on the sectoral and national (plus EU) innovation system case studies

The summary for this Deliverable will be uploaded soon.

The decarbonisation divide: Contextualizing landscapes of low-carbon exploitation and toxicity in Africa

Much academic research on low-carbon transitions focuses on the diffusion or use of innovations such as electric vehicles or solar panels, but overlooks or obscures downstream and upstream processes, such as mining or waste flows. Yet it is at these two extremes where emerging low-carbon transitions in mobility and electricity are effectively implicated in toxic pollution, biodiversity loss, exacerbation of gender inequality, exploitation of child labor, and the subjugation of ethnic minorities. We conceptualize these processes as part of an emerging “decarbonisation divide.” To illustrate this divide with clear insights for political ecology, sustainability transitions, and energy justice research, this study draws from extensive fieldwork examining cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the processing and recycling of electronic waste in Ghana. It utilizes original data from 34 semi-structured research interviews with experts and 69 community interviews with artisanal cobalt miners, e-waste scrapyard workers, and other stakeholders, as well as 50 site visits. These visits included 30 industrial and artisanal cobalt mines in the DRC, as well as associated infrastructure such as trading depots and processing centers, and 20 visits to the Agbogbloshie scrapyard and neighborhood alongside local waste collection sites, electrical repair shops, recycling centers, and community e-waste dumps in Ghana. The study proposes a concerted set of policy recommendations for how to better address issues of exploitation and toxicity, suggestions that go beyond the often-touted solutions of formalisation or financing. Ultimately, the study holds that we must all, as researchers, planners, and citizens, broaden the criteria and analytical parameters we use to evaluate the sustainability of low-carbon transitions.

Written by Benjamin K. Sovacool, Andrew Hook, Mari Martiskainen, Andrea Brock and Bruno Turnheim

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Bias in energy system models with uniform cost of capital assumption

Several studies have recently evaluated the feasibility of 100% renewable energy-based energy systems in different world regions. In a recent article, Bogdanov et al.1 contribute to this literature, by using an energy system model that takes into account the unique conditions of 145 global subregions, including factors such as renewable energy (RE) resource conditions, structure and age of existing capacities, demand patterns, etc. Based on their results, they discuss transition pathways and calculate the 2050 levelized cost of electricity generation (LCOE) of 100% RE-based energy systems in those 145 subregions. While the paper provides a new high-resolution analysis of 100% RE systems, we believe that it falls short of adequately considering large differences in the cost of capital (CoC) when comparing the LCOE between countries. As a result, Fig. 2 in Bogdanov et al. shows the lowest LCOEs for solar photovoltaic (PV)-based systems in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan, which seems at odds with the high investment risks and very low installed capacity in both countries2. Accounting for CoC differences between countries changes the results dramatically, as we show in Fig. 1. We therefore argue that using uniform CoC can lead to distorted policy recommendations.

Written by Florian Egli, Bjarne Steffen and Tobias S. Schmidt

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D 1.3 Sectorial Analysis Draft Report

Summary

This report describes patterns of diffusion of energy technologies in a set of future scenarios, and historical diffusion dynamics of a range of energy technologies. The report covers scenario projections, and historical diffusion dynamics, in five broad sectoral areas: power generation, heat in buildings, industrial energy demand, transport, and agriculture.

D 3.5 Report on second participatory co-design workshop

Summary

The INNOPATHS project is developing a set of narratives that describe the possible evolution of the European energy system over the coming decades. This process is heavily informed by stakeholder views, through a series of co-design processes. This report describes the second stakeholder scenario workshop, which was held in London in July 2020. The workshop involved representatives from government bodies from across Europe.

D 2.3 Report on the role of user-driven and inclusive innovation and new business models for the low-carbon transition

Summary

This Deliverable focusses on two distinct issues, in Part 1 and Part 2

Part 1: The role of users and user-based innovation in the heat pump transitions of Finland and the United Kingdom

A typology of user-based innovation hypothesizes five different user types in low carbon transitions: User-producers, user-legitimators, user-intermediaries, user-citizens, and user-consumers. This part had three research questions:

1. Which user types are most salient, and at which times, in the heat pump transition in Finland, and the non-transition in the UK?

2. What types of learning, network development and expectation dynamics occurred, or did not occur, during the transition process?

3. What types of new rules emerged or became de- or realigned within the niche and the regime

The much greater diffusion of heat pumps in Finland compared to the UK is largely the result of sociotechnical factors—cutting across infrastructure, markets, regulation, research incentives and users, backed by user engagement and learning, strong intermediaries and networks, and consistent and credible national policy incentives. In addition, users can have an active role in shaping new markets. This is especially important as policies are not always fully able to reduce uncertainties for users, and can also be susceptible to political changes. The development of an active user base, performing a range of functions from user-producer,

to user-legitimator, user-intermediary, user-citizen to user-consumer is perhaps a more stable predictor of a successful transition process. Users’ role is not only salient in helping to start up transitions, and adopting new dominant solutions and integrating them into their lifestyles, but also in contributing to the acceleration process. Users therefore need to be involved in niche construction, as well as in regime destabilisation.

Part 2: Low-Carbon & Resource-Efficient Food in Cities – Policy Drivers and Barriers to Business

The purpose of this part is to assess how city-level (and where relevant, sub-city level) authorities in Berlin, London and Warsaw have used their ability to set and use strategy, policy and other support to drive or inhibit the development of business activities concerned with low-carbon and resource-efficient food.

Evidence from Berlin, London and Warsaw suggests that low-carbon and resource-efficient food business activities have been growing. Each of the three cities have some form of high-level strategy of relevance to low-carbon and resource-efficient food, either directly or indirectly. However, it appears that such strategies have little direct impact on the development of related business activities. They do, however, appear to be helpful in providing an overarching framework to help guide policy, and as such remain indirectly useful.

Environmental taxes and charges have been successful in London, particularly through the national Landfill Tax, in diverting food waste from landfill and towards anaerobic digestion. An increased focus on such a financial incentive is suggested by stakeholders in all three cities. Although public procurement activities appear to have had a negligible effect in Berlin and Warsaw, they have been a broadly positive force in London. Given the scale of public procurement in cities, stakeholders (particularly in London) suggest refocusing procurement criteria could be a substantial demand driver for these businesses. Business advisory services are present in Berlin and London, of which stakeholders are broadly in favour, particularly in the form of ‘one-stop-shops’ This is underpinned by a common belief by stakeholders in all three cities that there is a substantial economic incentive already present for low-carbon and resource-efficient food, but there is a broad lack of awareness of such incentives.

Stakeholders in all three cities emphasised the role of consumer demand for low-carbon and resource-efficient food (or lack thereof) as a key driver (or barrier). As such, the was broad agreement of the need for further policy to raise awareness through awareness campaigns, but also more specific initiatives, such as prizes and awards.

Overall, stakeholders across all three cities agree that the role of public policy, at any level of governance (EU, national or city), has been relatively limited in encouraging the development of such businesses. and that further policy action would be beneficial, complex if it is to be effective. However, stakeholders in both London and Warsaw stated that an issue perhaps more prominent than the policy landscape in these cities is presence or lack of appropriate political commitment.