Smart Grids are "intelligent" electricity networks of the future, providing electricity using real-time, twoway digital communication between producers and consumers´ appliances; this is expected to save
energy, to reduce costs and to increase reliability and transparency. Smart Grids are being promoted by many governments as a way of addressing energy independence, global warming and emergency
resilience issues. In a project supporting policy development in the area of energy innovation in Austria, Smart Grids are therefore considered as an integral component of socio-technical visions of
potential energy futures for the next 30 to 40 years.
In this paper we aim at identifying the key governance issues arising in the deployment of Smart Grid technologies that enable the transition of the present electricity system into a sustainable energy
system. Facing the socio-technical complexity of the system, we focus on governance on the local, regional, national, and European levels. Building on a systematic and interactive process of
engagement with stakeholders, including scenario analysis and backcasting, we assess the scope for action and the room for maneuvre for legal arrangements in this multi-stakeholder and multi-levelpolicy
context. We take into consideration the role of consumers, grid operators, electricity producers (of whatsoever size), service providers, government (local, regional, national, European), technology providers, telecom providers, standards organisations, and R&D organizations. Of special relevance for Austria, network-oriented governance mechanisms are identified that complement the traditional coordination mechanisms of political hierarchy and market exchange.
Beside a successful integration of national energy policy into a truly European policy, the ability of local and regional stakeholder groups to participate in the deployment of innovative solutions is seen as crucial. Here, the concept of a system of "Energy regions of the future" has been sketched, which allows small- to medium-scale experiments for utilizing region-specific resources, implementation of
business models, and demonstration of actor-centered good-practice.
|2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions. Diversity, plurality and change: breaking new grounds in sustainability transition research
|13/06/11 → 15/06/11
- Former Research Field - Innovation Systems and Policy