Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-1137
Publication type: Working paper – expertise – study
Title: Understandig the Role of Scenarios in Swiss Energy Research
Authors: Braunreiter, Lukas
Wemyss, Devon
Kobe, Carmen
Müller, Adrian W.
Krause, Thilo
Blumer, Yann
DOI: 10.21256/zhaw-1137
Extent: 32
Issue Date: Jul-2016
Series: SML Working Paper
Series volume: 13
Publisher / Ed. Institution: ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Winterthur
Language: English
Subjects: Scenarios, Energy systems, Energy policy, Modelling, Transition, Switzerland
Subject (DDC): 333: Economics of land and resources
Abstract: Energy scenarios link long-term policy goals to near-term decisions and may thus guide the transition to more sustainable energy systems. Yet, systematic empirical analyses of how energy scenarios are understood and used by relevant actors are rare. This working paper addresses the situation in Switzerland, where several competing public energy scenarios have been developed by different organisations in reaction to the government’s decision to phase out nuclear power. The analysis focuses on the energy research community, which has a double role in the dissemination of scenario-based insights: On the one hand, researchers develop energy scenarios which may in turn be used by decision-makers in policy and industry to create or assess action alternatives. On the other hand, many researchers are scenario users themselves. We conducted 13 structured in-depth interviews with energy researchers. The sample covers a wide scope of institutions and disciplinary backgrounds, including economics, engineering, geography, sociology, and law. We find that while most researchers do use energy scenarios, there are, essentially, two contrasting types of scenario use among them: One group of researchers, which we labelled divers, is interested in very specific data and assumptions that it wants to fully understand. A second group, which we labelled sailors, refers to the results of a scenario analysis in a more general manner. We identified different interpretations of scenario content between sailors and divers. These discrepancies are a result of the highly specialised modelling activities on which energy scenarios are based. Implicit knowledge that is generated during the process of developing energy sce-narios is inaccessible to most scenarios users. We therefore conclude the study with a discussion about the usefulness of participative stakeholder involvement and scenario documentation that is adjusted to the interests and competencies of its users. Because energy scenarios increasingly serve as a scientifically derived information basis for societal debates about energy transitions, their use needs to be studied more extensively.
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/1134
License (according to publishing contract): Not specified
Departement: School of Management and Law
Organisational Unit: Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE)
Appears in collections:Energierecht & Energy Policy Analysis

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