Graduate School

for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods

Blog

25.06.2020 Research workshop// Post by Antonia Stratmann, Simon Slabik, Sina Diersch and Anne Paulus

INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK

RESEARCH WORKSHOP AS AN INSTRUMENT

Scientific research often means working exclusively in and with one’s own field of expertise. This applies to processes, content and methods. Disciplinary research, however, quickly reaches its limits in practice, as there are often causal relationships and questions from different disciplines. Particularly in the area under consideration in the neighbourhood, complex questions often arise for the colleagues, which require multi-perspective approaches. The aim is to bundle disciplinary competences and to enter into an exchange with other disciplines in order to be able to take a comprehensive look at research.

The cooperation across the disciplines is one of the challenges that often have to be dealt with at the NEQ. One instrument for this is the principle of the Research Workshop, in the context of which four colleagues have jointly reviewed the qualitative method of coding for a research project, which originates from the social sciences. Accordingly, knowledge from the disciplines of spatial planning, geography, civil engineering, sociology and psychology was incorporated into this interdisciplinary work.

The process of the research workshop was characterized by three steps:

Firstly, a telephone enquiry was made to find out more about the method and to clarify the general conditions. In this way a common language and understanding of the methodology could be found. Also in this context, the materials and documents for conducting the review of the methodology were sent out.

In the second step, the colleagues were given time to study the documents and to work on them independently.

In the last step, we sat together digitally and discussed the results. This form formed the core of the interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary work.

As a result it can be said that the sometimes very different views, approaches and also the handling of the methodology and the tasks led to a product and new knowledge gain for all participants. The research workshop helped to reflect own assumptions and discuss additional perspectives and distinction between related topics.

Through the research workshop new contents for the research work as well as a new handling of the methodology have been learned. We were thus able to take new impulses for our research work and beyond. The research workshop showed us how important an exchange beyond one’s own discipline is, because this way new impulses for thinking and solution processes can be developed.

28.05.2020 Doctoral student meeting// Post by Simon Slabik

DOCTORAL STUDENT MEETING

RUB 07.05.2020

… see german version

14.05.2020 Vienna field trip// Post by Christian Thommessen and Anne Paulus

ASPERN SMART CITY RESEARCH GmbH & Co KG (ASCR)

FIELD TRIP TO ASPERN SEESTADT

… see german version

23.04.2020 Vienna field trip// Post by Lisa Kränke

VIENNA FIELD TRIP

WALKING TOUR THROUGH SIMMERING

… see german version

19.03.2020 Vienna field trip// Post by Antonia Stratmann and Anne Paulus

VIENNA FIELD TRIP

"VIERTEL ZWEI"

… see german version

06.03.2020 Special contribution// Congratulations

8|KSWD – 8th CONFERENCE FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DATA

CONGRATULATION LISA TARUTTIS ON THE 1st PLACE AT RatSWD POSTER-PRICE 2020

… see german version

05.03.2020 Workshop// Post by Dione Hernández Galvis and Simon Slabik

RESEARCH METHODS

FOR PHD STUDENTS

After a very successful first seminar on “Good Scientific Practice”, the Graduate School NEQ organised on February 12th and 13th, 2020, a training course on “Research Methods for PhD Students”. The head of the Graduate Centre of the University of Siegen, Dr. Daniel Müller, led a partly interactive presentation through the workshop, in which the different interdisciplinary research methods were presented to the PhD students.

After an introductory summary of scientific theory and its origins, the different current subject cultures and methodologies were explained. The survey methods necessary for the preparation of scientific papers – especially from the sociological and economic fields – were then presented and illustrated by interactive examples. On the second day of the seminar, individual consultations were held with all PhD candidates, in which the methodological procedures were critically questioned and, if necessary, optimized.

All things considered, it can be said that the workshop on scientific research methods not only strengthened the understanding of the methodological procedures of each one of the dissertation goals, but also raised the awareness of the approaches of other disciplines. In the future, this will further improve the dialogue within the Graduate School. Thanks to the personal exchange with Dr. Daniel Müller, individual concerns could be attended.

20.02.2020 Vienna field trip// Post by Lisa Taruttis and David Kröger

VIENNA FIELD TRIP

VISIT TO THE WASTE INCINERATION PLANT SPITTELAU

… see german version

13.02.2020 Workshop// Post by Christian Thommessen

WORKSHOP

GOOD SCIENTIFIC PRACTICE

Within the Graduate School for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods, workshops for further education are held regularly. In this context, the PhD students participated in a training on good scientific practice at the end of January 2020, which was led by Dr. rer. nat. Peter Schröder. The one-day event focused on the questions “What is good scientific practice about?” and “How to implement the principles of good scientific practice?

Through many practical examples, the colleagues were shown how this topic affects their graduation, what duties and rights apply, what benefits they can derive from taking the guiding principles into account and how they can deal with any problems. A central finding was that good scientific practice cannot be defined, but only described. This is because the term is not unambiguous and is, e.g., interpreted differently depending on the discipline. However, there are fundamental guiding principles of good scientific practice which must be observed without fail (e.g. obligation to document or being critical of one’s own results or those of third parties). The DFG’s guidelines or, respectively, code of conduct provide a good overview.

In retrospect to the training it remains to be noted that the exchange of experiences with the lecturer as well as the colleagues (not only regarding the topic of this workshop) was and still is very important. The possibility to have such an exchange with others is highly appreciated by the NEQ participants and they are already looking forward to the upcoming training.

Further links to related topics:
Teacher Dr. rer. nat. Peter Schröder
DFG’s Gguideline on good scientific practice

30.01.2020 Dissertation topic// Post by Karen Wesely

RELEVANCE OF OBJECTICE AND SUBJECTIVE AUTONOMY OF SUPPLY

IN THE CONTEXT OF THE ENERGY SYSTEM TRANSFORMATION

… see german version

23.01.2020 Conference// Post by David Kröger

CONGRÈS INTERNATIONAL DES RÉSEAUX ELECTRIQUES DE DISTRIBUTION

CIRED 2019

… see german version

23.01.2020 Dissertation topic// Post by Mona Treude

THE SMART CITY APPROACH

AS A CONCEPT TO REACH CLIMATE PROTECTION AND SUSTAINABILITY GOALS

… see german version

15.01.2020 Dissertation topic// Post by Christian Thommessen

DISTRICT HEATING IN GERMANY

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND, CURRENT RESEARCH AND FUTURE BENEFITS

District Heating (DH) is based on the fundamental idea of using local fuel or heat resources – which would otherwise be wasted – to satisfy local customer demands for heating. Hereby, a heat distribution network of pipes act as a local market place. Traditionally, excess heat resources have their origin in other energy sectors, i.e. combined heat and power (CHP) plants for generating electricity generation or industrial processes. Today, there is an additional interest in the use of renewables in DH systems, e.g. geothermal, solar thermal, biomass. A combination of providing recycled or renewable heat is the focus for future DH systems. As a result ordinary primary energy supply for heat demands will be substituted and lower environmental impact will be achieved.

Globally, DH systems able to fulfil the fundamental idea are very different regarding their market penetration, use of resources, network size, as well as environmental impact. However, the main merit of DH is always similar: there are lower heating costs in (high) dense urban areas with concentrated heat demands, especially in times with high international fuel prices. The costs for heat generation, distribution and consumption are even lower when considering damage costs for climate impacts in the form of e.g. taxes.

In some countries DH systems provide heat to about half of the national building stocks, whereas there are other countries with only a few systems because of lower awareness or competitiveness. Commercial DH was introduced in the American cities of Lockport and New York in the late 19th century. Thereafter, the progress of DH has taken different directions across Europe. Most countries developed DH in response to minimize the importation of fuels. However, the first European DH systems were introduced in Germany in the 1920’s. The very first German DH system was operated in the city of Hamburg, because of a war straff: after the First World War France rose up the price on coal (in the Ruhr area). As a result, DH was a cheaper and more efficient solution for heating buildings. During both oil crises in the 1970’s, the international oil price rose so high that as a reaction, the general interest in DH and its optimization increased significantly. Utilities in Germany found that DH was the best way of using the energy from municipal waste, which is today an important part of DH schemes (e.g. in Vienna or Copenhagen).

The Scandinavian and German DH industries spent a lot of time and money on research and development to support the technological process. Improved energy efficiency and several (upcoming) fuel changes in the electricity sector, make CHP generation attractive. DH temperatures are crucial to the overall system efficiency. Current DH research focuses on optimizing supply and return temperatures, as well as optimizing CHP plant operation considering both, the electricity and the heating sector and markets, respectively. Hereby, thermal storages enable the DH to be supplied at the lowest costs and to bridge the time between heat generation and distribution. Furthermore, the development of better piping technology for the DH networks is ongoing. Pre-insulated piping systems are state-of-the-art since the 1960’s, but there are improvements needed in order to become the reliable, cost-efficient basis of novel DH schemes with lower temperatures. Finally, the mature technology of surveillance systems, sophisticated controls and heat meters needs to evolve and make DH smart in the sense of digitalization. Operating DH temperatures will be much lower than in the past (i.e. well below 100 °C), so that heat loss reduction and an efficient heat generation become crucial.

All in all DH technology is improving so that DH becomes a significant element of several heating markets in European countries, especially in Germany. Today, district energy systems are analyzed and planned in a more holistic way than in the past. In order to encompass several sectors (i.e. electricity, heating and transportation) DH is increasingly seen as an integral part of the overall energy system. In Germany DH can be an essential element to enable the usage of the increasing intermittent renewable electricity. This results in a more efficient usage of fossil fuels for residual loads and lower greenhouse gas or carbon emissions. In high-dense urban cities DH will be the form of heating with the lowest costs due to its ability to use a range of (locally available) heat sources, especially waste heat from CHP plants and industrial processes, as well as renewable heat. DH is a major benefit in increasing supply diversity and reducing dependence on imported fuels by third parties.

10.01.2020 Special contribution// Congratulations

EURAC RESEARCH

CONGRATULATION ANTONIA STRATMANN ON THE BEST POSTER AWARD OF THE SSPCR!

… see german version

10.01.2020 Conference// Post by Simon Slabik

CENTRAL EUROPE TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE BUILDING 2019 (CESB19)

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

The Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) conference series was first launched in 2000 and has since been held at regional, national and global levels every three years. The stated main objective of the conference series is to disseminate innovative strategies and development related to sustainable urban development to the widest possible audience. Through the 2015 EU adopted resolution “Agenda 2030” for sustainable development, the international community states that the global challenges can only be solved through international cooperation. Thus, the development of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which together with 169 objectives cover all three dimensions of sustainability, is the main component of this agenda.

For the fifth time in a row, the Faculty of Civil Engineering, the Klokner-Institute and the University Center of Energy Efficient Buildings (UCEEB) of the Czech Technical University in Prague organized the regional conference. Topics this year included: The innovative use of materials and products in sustainable buildings, energy efficient systems, sustainable refurbishment of existing buildings and sustainable urban development.

Foto: Faculty of Construction Engineering, Klokner-Institute and University centre for energy-efficient buildings (UCEEB) of the Czech Technical University in Prague organized the regional conference for the fifth time in a row.

Under the chairmanship of Petr Hajek, Richard Lorch and Harald Mueller initially held the keynote speeches in which the shed light on the current discourse of climate change in the context of building issues. Harald Mueller also presented a climate-friendly variant of concrete production (eco-concrete or green concrete), which reduces greenhouse gas emission compared to the usual production. The following sessions dealt in particular with the topics of refurbishment and materiality as well as their influence on the built environment. In the coffee and lunch break, it was easy to get in touch with the various exhibitors and speakers to discuss current problems in urban development and the building sector.

The second day of the conference was initiated by keynote speeches by Dr. Oesterreicher, Mr Treberspurg and Prof. Dr. Luetzkendorf. On the one hand, the focus was on large-scale urban development in Austria based on the example of the “Seestadt Aspern” in Vienna and, on the other hand, the consideration of sustainability studies with different examination aspects. As part of the Graduate School for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods, we had the opportunity to visit “Seestadt Aspern” in September 2019 and inspect the planning and practical concepts on site.  

The conference concluded on the third day with further sessions, which addressed the materiality, the recycling potential of building products, processes of policymaking, sensitization campaigns and economic optimization instruments.

In summary, the CESB19 conference in Prague was an exciting event, providing deep insights into the very broad research landscape of sustainability and the built environment. The conclusions and established hypotheses must now be confirmed and research in depth in order to develop effective measures to combat climate change.

10.01.2020 Dissertation topic// Post by Lisa Taruttis

SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENTS IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES

A HOME-OWNERS' PERSPECTIVE WITH EVIDENCE FROM GERMANY

In Germany, around 35% of the final energy consumption and about one third of the CO2- emissions are related to the housing sector. According to the Energy Efficiency Strategy for Buildings (ESG), the German government aims at a climate-neutral building stock by 2050 to reach the goals defined in the Climate Action Plan 2050. For this purpose, energy efficiency of buildings is to be improved on the one hand, and on the other hand the remaining energy demand is to be covered predominantly by renewable energies. The focus will be set on energy efficient retrofits, since a large proportion of the buildings existing in 2050 already exist today.

In the first cohort, my predecessor Dr. Paul Baginski has already dealt with “Key Drivers and Barriers for Energy Efficient and Sustainable Household Investments”. The aim of my doctoral thesis is to build on these results and to empirically investigate the various economic effects resulting from these sustainable investments. The focus here is on the one hand on uncovering possible monetary benefits that can be generated by energy-saving renovation measures, and on the other hand on the analysis of neighborhood and spillover effects. In addition, regional disparities are investigated, so that the results can be transferred to different neighborhoods.

An essential part of my cumulative dissertation is the use of small-scale raster data, which is gaining more and more attention in the field of spatial analyses. In my studies I will draw on different (spatial-)econometrical models. Due to the inter- and transdisciplinary orientation of our graduate school and the associated synergy potential between different projects, however, the application of other, e.g. qualitative methods is also conceivable.

10.01.2020 Conference// Post by Dione Hernández Galvis

SMART CITY EXPO WORLD CONGRESS 2019

The Smart City Expo World Congress 2019 is a leading international event which started back in 2011. It took place on November 19th – 21st, 2019 in the city of Barcelona. The event counted with the attendance of twenty-five thousand people from all over the world. The plethora of topics and projects that were introduced during these three days are astonishing. The congress englobes many topics that are in line with the objectives of the Graduate School, this motivated the participation at this three days’ venture, which offered new perspectives specially regarding the digitalisation of the energy transformation.

The slogan of the event was “cities made of dream”, the opening keynote was an allusion to what could be one of Eleanor Roosevelt’s most famous quotes: “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” The aim at the conference was to dream of a smart urban revolution triggered by the main focuses: Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Governance and Finance, and Inclusive and Sharing Cities. Simultaneously, workshops, side events and summits regarding smart cities and regions, digitalisation, analytics and infrastructure took place.

Since renewable energies are of particular importance for the achievement of smart cities, the relevance of the seasonal storage of electricity goes without saying. The City of Stockholm and the Stockholm Royal Seaport offered an interesting insight regarding the challenges and solutions in this area to which they have been confronted with. In this same line of thought, the European Energy Research Alliance presented good practice examples and debated the best ways of implementation. Besides, Yostina Beules from London confronted herself with the question: “What policies local government need to implement to improve energy performance and lower emissions?”, since her area of expertise is energy transition, her approach to the topic and the reference to technology 4.0 as an enabler of the energy transformation were especially elucidative.

Furthermore, strategies in order for cities and nations to be “smart” by means of IoT, city platforms and international standards were thoroughly analysed, discussed and agreed upon. It results compulsory to mention that the congress had numerous sessions concerning how to develop smart and sustainable cities, offering not only best practices and guidelines, but also methodologies.

18.12.2019 Dissertation topic// Post by Antonia Stratmann

HOW CAN FLEXIBLE SPATIAL STRUCTURES CREATE SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT?

The demands of society on its built environment, as well as ecological and economic factors, require a constant adaptation of public urban spaces and their uses. Although only three percent of the earth’s surface consists of cities, these are the main drivers of climate change. Spatial and urban planners have to do with urbanisation, soil sealing, scarcity of resources and environmental pollution and play a decisive role in the implementation of sustainable adaptation measures and in ensuring the climate stability of spatial developments.

Grafik1

Figure 1: indicators climate change and urban development: rethinking in politics and society

The development trends show a dynamization of the urban development structure of use across almost all use-relevant manifestations in their spatial effects. An ever shorter duration and validity of spatial determinations of locations for individual uses require new solutions in urban planning. Since forecasts for the future are uncertain, it is necessary to find solutions that are flexible, adaptable and open to change.

The aim of the research work is to develop individual tools for flexible land use in a neighbourhood and to present them in a toolbox. The concept of the toolbox is suitable because individual tools can be used independently of each other in space and according to the conditions. The Toolbox is therefore adaptable over time, open for new tools and at the same time offers a structural framework and orientation aids.

With the aim of creating urban development flexibility in neighbourhood development, it is to be investigated (1) how flexibility in urban development is defined, (2) what influence flexible structures have on urban development and, in the last step, (3) how sustainable neighbourhood development with flexible urban development structures can be designed using the example of an investigation area.

Currently, I am dealing with the questions flexibility in urban planning. What does flexibility mean in urban planning? When are structures flexible? What expectations do users have of flexible land use? What types/forms of flexibility are there? What influence does flexibility have on urban planning? Which definitions can be found in the literature?

Initial literature research has shown that flexible public spaces guarantee sustainable, resource-friendly urban planning because …

sponsored by

coordinationed by

in cooperation with

… IT IS ADAPTABLE

+ FOR DIFFERENT USES
+ FOR ITS USERS
+ IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY

… CONSUME LESS GROUND

+ USAGE CAN HAPPEN IN PARALLEL
+ AND/OR SIDE BY SIDE
+ OFFERS HYBRID SPACE ORGANISATIONS

The following definition has emerged from these points: „Flexibility is a designing tool to achieve resource-friendly spatial planning. Flexibility measures are: reversible, removable, adaptable, adjustable and/or upgradable.

Flexibility criteria are:  Value of change and reconstruction possibilities, potential of expansion possibilities and value of reuse“

The following is an outlook and examples for the design of flexible public spaces. For the dissertation, the influence of flexible structures in urban planning will be investigated further.

Figure 2: Open public space in La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain

Figure 3: Open public space in Aspern, Vienna, Austria

The illustrations 2 and 3 show public spaces in two European cities. The public space in La Barceloneta (Figure 2) was already planned in 1983, the public space in Aspern (Figure 3) has been implemented 2009 according to current planning guidelines, and with the knowledge of the necessity of flexibility and adaptability. Although the two squares were built at different times, they have a number of things in common: a wide promenade, the possibility of staying and resting through benches, greenery and light.

In the next blog post on the status of my dissertation topic, the influence of flexible urban development structures on sustainable neighbourhood development will be shown in order to come closer to the goal of developing a toolbox that contains various building blocks for sustainable implementation (in terms of time and content).

10.01.2020 Dissertation topic // Post by Simon Slabik

THE IMPORTANCE OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (LCA) AT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD SCALE

NEW CONSTRUCTIONS, REFURBISHMENT AND MODERNIZATION MEASURES AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTALLY RELEVANT IMPACT

In the structural context, the neighbourhood offers an interesting and increasingly focused level of observation. As an interface between individual buildings and the entire urban structure, it offers an extensive spectrum of research. The building sector is responsible for about one third of all greenhouse gas emissions in Germany. Regarding various political objectives, the German government has also committed itself to reducing primary energy consumption in buildings by 80 percent until 2050, for example. The energetic refurbishment of existing buildings is essential here, as the majority of existing buildings will still exist in the year 2050. The synthesis of upgrading the building’s building envelope and integrating sustainable and efficient energy systems ensures a positive impact on the environment by minimising the heat and electricity demand of the building.

In order to consider and evaluate the environmental impacts, the method of the life cycle assessment (according to EN 15978) is applied to the neighbourhood under consideration. The focus here is on a holistic approach which analyses not only the building structure but also the infrastructure, pipelines and other traffic and open spaces. Spatial and temporal system boundaries must be adjusted accordingly, and a meaningful functional unit serves to quantify the benefit and for use as a comparison unit. Finally, the adaptation will be implemented and validated at different quarters.

As part of the Graduate School for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods, the research question can be dealt with in a coherent manner. The inter- and transdisciplinary approach also provides deep insights into the complex relationship between building material and energetic modernisation, economic parameters and the ecological restructuring of the built environment.

05.12.2019 Conference// Post by Christian Thommessen

ISGT EUROPE 2019

SIGNIFICANCE OF COGENERATION FOR GERMANY’S FUTURE ENERGY SUPPLY

The IEEE PES Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Europe (ISGT Europe) took place from 29 September to 2 October in Bucharest (Romania) at University. ISGT Europe is one of two flagship conferences of the IEEE in Europe and enjoys a high reputation. The focus is on industrial and manufacturing theory as well as applications for the broad application of information and communication technologies and the integration of renewable and distributed energy resources into the electric grid. The conference attracted 400 researchers, practitioners and students from all over the world. The main topic was “New Businesses for Energy Transition” and featured keynotes, plenary sessions, panels, industry exhibits, paper and poster presentations and tutorials on smart grid and related technologies.

The Graduate School for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighborhoods was represented by M.Sc. Christian Thommessen and his paper entitled “Significance of Cogeneration for Germany’s Future Energy Supply”. The background to this contribution is that the ongoing expansion of renewable energies is leading to changes in the energy supply. More flexibility is needed in the provision of electricity because the dependence on volatile supply increases due to the addition of e.g. wind turbines. These new developments have the effect that the operating times of conventional power plants change characteristically, which is essentially related to the residual load which must be provided by controllable systems. Today, several studies solve the future flexibility challenge in a non-congruent way because of rigid viewing points. In the published paper related to the ISGT Europe 2019 an analysis on the role of distributed cogeneration plants as flexible supply option in Germany’s urban energy systems is made. The results show that major fluctuations of the residual load can be covered by cogeneration plants. Furthermore, the necessity of sector coupling is revealed.

Within the conference program was the presentation of the paper. Afterwards were discussions about using existing infrastructure in the future (green gas grid), the rollout of District Heating systems in Germany, and required changes of the current regulatory framework. The final conclusions shall be summarized here in a compressed form:

  • a flexible and 100 % renewable coverage of the remaining residual load must be ensured;
  • a distributed system including (green) gas-fired cogeneration, wind and solar plants can provide clean energy;
  • sector coupling is a complex issue regarding: technology, regulatory, organization, networking and cooperation;
  • the cogeneration of power and heat means the usage of potentials, because it is high efficient and profitable;
  • an expansion of District Heating is needed in Germany;
  • a stepwise gas grid conversion must provide green gas for the supply of the remaining residual load;
  • in any case, taking notice of flexibility requirements for the power grid is important.

After the session Professor Virgil Dumbrava thanked for the interesting lecture given. He encouraged everyone to continue working and to show further progress at next year’s conference. He found the contribution to the Graduate School for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighborhoods particularly exciting. Therefore, he handed a certificate.

Picture: Christian Thommessen (University of Duisburg-Essen, Chair of Energy Technology) receives the conference certificate from session chair Virgil Dumbrava (Professor at University Politehnica of Bucharest).

11.12.2019 Dissertation topic// Post by Anne Paulus

SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

A STUDY OF ACCEPTANCE

… see german version

27.11.2019 Dissertation topic// Post by David Kröger

ELECTRICITY MARKET AND GRID SIMULATIONS

WITH SPECIAL CONSIDERATION OF AN INCREASING CONNECTION OF THE ELECTRICITY AND HEAT SECTOR IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

… see german version

21.11.2019 Dissertation topic// Post by Lisa Kränke

SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT

IN BOCHUM-HAMME

… see german version

20.11.2019 Dissertation topic// Post by Dione Hernández Galvis

DIGITALISATION OF THE "ENERGIEWENDE":

LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR A MORE EFFICIENT IMPLEMENTATION OF SOLAR ENERGY IN SMART NEIGHBOURHOODS

The aim of the research is to develop a proposal in order to optimize the current German legal framework for the development of the “Energiewende” through digitalisation and for the more efficient use of solar energy in neighbourhoods.

The existing German legal framework is no longer seen as a motor, but rather as an obstacle to the German “Energiewende”. In the area of solar energy, there is a specific problem: homeowners are becoming entrepreneurs due to the problem of tenant flows. In addition, solar power cannot be distributed in neighbourhoods. The main question will therefore be to what extent the existent German legal framework will have to change in order to harness the opportunities offered by digitalisation for the energy industry. The focus will be on energy law, civil and contract law, data protection and IT security law.

First of all, the current status of the German legal framework will be examined. Then, a comparative analysis of the other modern legislations will follow. Various regulatory approaches and “best practices” examples may as well will be used to develop a reform proposal. The comparative analysis will focus on the EU level. Nevertheless, the inclusion of supra-European best practices cannot be ruled out. The countries that will serve as comparative goals will be determined after the deficits in the German legal framework have been identified. This will make it easier to assess which regulatory approaches/frameworks/means of control or similar can be used in Germany.

The main topics of investigation are the so-called “smart contracts”, the IoT, the digitalisation as a megatrend and the new business models (these would represent the connection to neighbourhoods, e.g. the prosumers and the distribution of solar energy neighbourhoods). The term “neighbourhood” is initially alien to German (energy) law, nonetheless there are neighbourhood-relevant arrangements in the sense of criteria which can be helpful for the formation and demarcation of a neighbourhood. We must acknowledge the inexorable development of new scenarios that are not yet provided for in our current legal dimensions or framework conditions. The unimaginable developments in the technological field with which we will be confronted represent for our institutions and our coexistence in society great challenges. However, it is necessary to acknowledge the importance of the conditions of our legal framework, since they can decisively influence on the actors involved. Without extensive digitalisation of the energy industry, it will be difficult to achieve the intended “Energiwende”. Following the motto “Think Global, Act Local”, this interdisciplinary approach helps to answer the main questions of the Graduate School on the one hand, and to shape the future social and political challenges in a positive way on the other.

13.11.2019 Dissertation topic// Post by Sina Diersch

SHORT-DISTANCE MOBILITY IN THE CONTEXT OF URBAN TRANSFORMATION

INNOVATION PERSPECTIVES THROUGH REAL-WORLD EXPERIMENTS

The design of human scale urban mobility in the context of energy and resource transition is one of the key challenges that mobility and urban planning is currently facing. In urban areas, short-distance mobility as the most energy-efficient, healthiest, climate- and resource-efficient form of mobility, constitutes the basic component of a socio-ecological transformation of transportation. Being central to the energy transition, a traffic turnaround alongside (technical) infrastructure also requires the establishment of flexible forms of mobility behavior and the creation of new responsibilities and regulatory requirements. In this context, urban neighborhoods serve as incubators for the development of evidential approaches. That is because, in their function as the source and destination of everyday mobility, they can both be initiators of a change in consciousness and behavior as well as impulse generators for changes in basic conditions and decision-making structures. Often, however, the implementation of mobility research innovation fails because of occurring problems concerning the transfer into practice. In this context, setting real-world and experimental impulses, which make mobility tangible – not only in the sense of a technological but also an institutional experimental culture – can exemplify new perspectives for a traffic turnaround as a transformative learning process.

Accordingly, with the help of explorative approaches of transformation research, the objective of my PhD project in the research college NEQ is to investigate implementation-oriented and experimental perspectives of urban mobility in and for the real urban context of the neighborhood. The neighborhood as a learning and opportunity space in which mobility-relevant experimental settings can be made operable in a transdisciplinary and co-creative process, and scientific and non-scientific perspectives can be linked in real-world experiments. Real-world experiments should be considered as instruments of transformative knowledge generation and application. With their help, mobility research should not only be transferred into practice but further developed. The application-oriented research approach of the project under the research-guiding question “Which perspectives for the transformation of urban mobility result from real-world experimentation in the neighborhood?” lies therefore in the ‘knowledge-action-gap’ of urban mobility research and planning. For the evaluation of relevant implementation strategies, the contextualization of the mutual dynamics of society, space and governance is the first main focus of the investigation. Subsequently, it is important to systematically evaluate real-world experiments for their effect on those dynamics in an iterative process. In addition, the relevance of transformative research formats as experimental spaces for mobility research is one of the main research interests.