Technological prospects, citizen involvement and governance arrangements
Urban energy systems are going through fundamental technological and societal changes in the transition to sustainable energy systems. Ambitious climate change targets can only be realized by transforming urban energy systems into smart low carbon energy systems. From being passive agglomerations of energy consumption and environmental pollution, the future energy provision of cities is deemed to be cleaner, smarter, more self-reliant, resilient, and closer to the needs of citizens. Technological innovation is an important driver, allowing for decentralized and sustainable energy provision beyond the traditional boundaries of electricity, gas, and heat infrastructures.
Many cities are taking up this challenge, ranging from big cities like London, Amsterdam, and Paris, to well-known medium-sized cities like Freiburg, Milton Keynes, Delft and Breda, to small ones like Lochem and Saerbeck. In this process, citizens are not only influential by making lifestyle changes. More importantly, they increasingly take part in the provision and (self-)governance of urban energy. For instance, by actively participating in grassroots initiatives for renewable energy. Social innovations like these are potential game changers. At the same time, they challenge the prevailing institutional setting of centralized energy systems. For a successful transition towards sustainable urban energy systems, technological and social innovations need to be aligned with the underlying societal values and guided by the wider institutional and governance context.
This conference takes a multi-disciplinary approach and explores the technological, economic, ethical, behavioral, governance and public policy aspects of (analyzing and designing) urban energy systems. It does so from a comprehensive enginering perspective, and aims at highlighting current trends and issues affecting urban energy systems.
Topics include, but are not limited to:
- Governance, policy and regulation of urban energy systems;
- Social innovations and local energy initiatives;
- Responsible innovation in energy systems;
- Energy justice and poverty;
- Energy demand: energy demand side management, energy efficiency, energy consumption and conservation;
- Public engagement, controversies, and conflicts in changing energy systems, participatory methods, consumer empowerment;
- Digitalization: smart grid, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology;
- Integration of energy systems: electricity, gas and heating;
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