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Towards a future-oriented “Energiewende”: An anticipatory multi-level approach to the decentralised renewable energy transition (FutWend)

The MLP framework is widely used in transition research, but to date it lacks a systematic inclusion of alternative futures that shape the actions taken on different levels. The project has:

  • The theoretical and methodological objective of developing the MLP framework to a futureoriented integrative tool;
  • The empirical objective of analysing the transition from centralised fossil based energy towards decentralised renewable energy up to 2030; and
  • The societal objective of providing and interactively disseminating highly needed policy-relevant information regarding the prerequisites and obstacles of the energy transition.

We focus on three case technologies that are at different stages of socio-technical transition in Finland: Biogas, ground source heat pumps and woodchips burning.

Through the cases, we explore the current and emerging roles of consumers, producers and prosumers of energy, and the roles of international energy markets, policies and public framings shaping expectations and actions.

The project is organised into five work packages that are based on specific datasets and methods – a Delphi study, policy document analysis, key informant interviews, national survey and media content analysis.

Our aim is to spark a new generation of sustainability transition studies by the systematic integration of alternative futures at all critical sub-systems and process phases. By envisioning and elaborating alternative futures, and examining how they are taken into account, this approach also increases the agility of sociotechnical system transition.

The FutWend project employs a prominent consortium of central research institutions in the field of bioeconomy and sustainability and demonstrated excellence in futures research. The project is led by Finland Futures Research Centre and the collaborating partners are Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and Natural Resources Institute Finland LUKE.

The research team has a track record of over 200 peer-reviewed publications. The project continues and enhances close-knit teamwork across organisations and builds new international collaboration. It is based on a transdisciplinary approach sensitive to stakeholder knowledge.

The FutWend project is been funded by the Academy of Finland during 2016–2019.

Project publications:

Mäkelä, M., Lauttamäki, V. 2017. Emerging business models in renewable energy: Case study on ground-source heat and wood chips. Paper presented in 13th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference (NESS2017) 6–8 June, Tampere, Finland.

Nygrén, N. A., Lyytimäki, J., Rantala, S., Toikka, A. & Pulkka, A. (2017) Media Representations of Decentralized Renewable Energy – Potentials and Pitfalls of Media as a Data Source for Energy Transition Research. Paper presented in 13th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference (NESS2017) 6-8 June 2017, Tampere, Finland.

Mäkelä, M. 2017. Environmental impacts and aspects in the forest industry: What kind of picture do corporate environmental reports provide? Forest Policy and Economics 80, 178–191.

Mäkelä, M. 2017. Trends in environmental performance reporting in the Finnish forest industry. Journal of Cleaner Production 142, 1333–1346.  

 

 
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 Further information:

 

Petri Tapio, Project Leader
Marileena Mäkelä
Nina Nygrén
Ville Lauttamäki 
Jarmo Vehmas

Finland Futures Research Centre

 

Vilja Varho 
Natural Resources Institute Finland

Timo Assmuth
Finnish Environment Institute