CenSES aims to conduct research that contributes to a better factual basis for public and private decision-makers at the interface between climate, energy and industrial policy. CenSES research is organized into five research areas:
1. Policy making and transition strategies
2. Energy systems and markets
3. Economic analysis
4. Innovation and commercialization
5. Scenario development
Within the topic energy and climate policies, national policy instruments in Norway has been assessed regarding their effectiveness. Studies of learning and innovation in political processes have given us a good foundation to understand how energy policy is currently made. Our studies have emphasized the generative capacities and potential of publics, and the many roles that members of the public might take on in the transformation of the energy system.
In order to have radical transformative change, the research shows that we should re-think the orchestration of citizens and social groups through innovation policies recognizing these aspects. The research provides insights that are of high relevance for technology and policy developers, illustrating many potential, but so far under exploited, modes of participation beyond mere economic choice.
FME CenSES has studied success factors for innovation in the current technological FMEs. The research has been conducted by researchers within various disciplines, with different theoretical and methodological approaches, that may give a more holistic picture on success criteria for implementation of new technologies. Our research on innovation and value creation focuses on how to build new industry based on renewable technologies. The work points at both large possibilities, for example utilizing our offshore competence, but also points to challenges. For industry and start-ups getting access to foreign markets and partners is important. For policy makers and business support schemes it is important to think of industry development and energy policy, as they could go hand-in-hand. Support and incentives for the Norwegian energy transition should also incentivize collaboration with Norwegian suppliers.
A long-term energy system model (TIMES) that considers short-term uncertainty has been developed. The model considers the intermittent nature of renewable electricity production from wind, solar and run of the river hydro. This is useful as an increased share of renewables requires flexible solutions and increases the value of flexible hydropower. The results show that traditional models not describing these variations, leads to too high investments in wind power and run of the river hydropower.
Norway's potential role in Europe´s transition to a sustainable energy system will depend on European climate and energy policy. This has been analysed in long-term scenarios using integrated assessment and energy system models. A main challenge for Europe in the transition to a sustainable energy system is how to manage and operate large volumes of renewable energy that cannot be controlled. The EMPIRE model is a long-term electricity market model, which models current variations in load and in renewable energy productions. Results from studies show that the transition towards a low carbon energy system makes Norwegian renewable energy resources highly valuable. Norwegian hydropower can increase its value even more if it is flexibility and capability to interplay with intermittent renewables is further developed. CenSES research together with Zero Emission Platform shows which instruments that are necessary for the early implementation CCS technology and that the transition can be much more expensive without CCS technology. Further studies show a high value of offshore wind in the North-sea area and that this value is maximized by the countries in the region cooperating on joint infrastructure.
CenSES has worked on user cases for societal energy transitions and urban transport systems. A main finding is that it's possible to achieve a voluntary cut of 25 % of emissions from households. The largest support towards changing behavior relates to dietary - and recycling habits, whereas change in transport habits is seen as more demanding. We studied distribution and welfare effects of a policy reducing emissions in the transport sector by 50% before 2030. The analysis shows that it is technologically feasible, but requires substantial investments and will limit economic growth unless new industrial activity is created. The effect is dramatic for road transport where emissions need to approach zero.
The CenSES PhD school played a central role in the centre, graduating more than 45 students with a strong component of international cooperation through compact courses with international professors and students, winter schools on management of uncertainty as well as summer schools on social sciences in the energy transition.
CenSES has created a multidisciplinary scientific community, integrating the societal challenges and possibilities for energy systems and policymaking. The centre produced 328 scientific articles and educated more than 200 master students, 44 PhD students and 19 post docs. CenSES strengthened the knowledge base for the formulation of policies for energy transitions at national, regional and local levels. The centre developed analysed how markets, policy measures, and regulatory policies impact the energy system and greenhouse gas emissions. CenSES new scenario methodology has been used in a number of European projects, including the development of the next generation modelling support for the European energy transition. The main impact may be an increased ability to meet our obligations in climate emission reductions and the value creation from Norwegian energy resources, as well as both a higher innovation rate from technology research and faster implementation.
As described in the FME Society call, Norway has the potential to become Europe's leading energy and environment-conscious nation by becoming: a) a society with approximately zero greenhouse gas emissions; b) a large exporter of environmentally friendly p ower to Europe; c) a society that provides good conditions for world leading and export oriented energy and energy technology companies, particularly with respect to solar energy, offshore wind power and CO2 capture and storage. To contribute to obtain th ese aims, CenSES will develop fact based knowledge for strategic decisions by the government and industry. This includes knowledge for a national energy and national and international climate policy and for strategies of innovation and commercialisation. What is called for is the development of a knowledge base that may guide and support the articulation and implementation of strategies to achieve transitions towards sustainability with respect to energy and climate. CenSES combines the strength of leadin g Norwegian social science research institutions supported by international partners and important Norwegian stakeholders to meet these challenges.
CenSES will organize its research activities under the following Research Areas:
RA1. Policy making and transition strategies
RA2. Energy system and markets
RA3. Economic analysis
RA4. Innovation, commercialization and public engagement
A fifth Research Areas is needed to provide space for the integration of results from the other four areas. RA 5. Scen ario development shall play a crucial role in the orchestration of the multi-disciplinary research of CenSES and the facilitation of interaction between the different RAs, the research teams and users of the centre. RA5 is an arena of integration where po licy and framework conditions, technology strategies, investment strategies and impacts are to be coupled in a consistent way. Relevance will also be assured by cross cutting user cases.