ET.20.003 – Pacing up the Energy Transition

Route: Energy transition

Cluster question: 018 How can we quickly make our energy supply greener while keeping it affordable and reliable?

To avoid unmanageable planetary warming, decisive action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero in 30 years. Central to this is a fundamental transformation of our energy system from a fossil fuel-based system to a more sustainable one. However, there is no blueprint for effectively making such a transition. Decision makers are facing a truly ‘wicked problem’, in which demographic, social, economic, technologic, and environmental dimensions are closely intertwined. An integrated scientific approach is needed to analyze the complexity of this interdisciplinary multi-scale challenge, to provide solutions that can be implemented, and test the effectivity of interventions to pace up the energy transition. Scientific aims: The scientific aims are A) to identify the key actors, their interconnections, and feedbacks determining the pace of the energy transition, and B) to design and test interventions that can help pacing up the energy transition. Scientific innovations are 1) to develop an overarching interdisciplinary framework that does justice to the complexity of the energy transition system while retaining the strengths of methodologies from the various disciplines, 2) to develop a range of simulation models that yield simplified representations of the real world and link multiple temporal and geographic scales at which networks act, 3) to develop and implement a system for monitoring key aspects of the (international) energy transition, and 4) to run integrated socio-technological simulations of the economy-energy-environment system to iteratively design and evaluate interventions while coping with uncertainties. Consortium: The interdisciplinary scientific team includes renowned scientists from universities, a TO2 and national knowledge institutes (UvA, TNO, CBS, RIVM, PBL) and uses its well-developed networks with ministries (EZK and LNV), local governments, innovative industry, and the energy market. The research includes a case study in which these stakeholders and citizens participate.


energy transition, Interdisciplinarity, interventions, Multi-scale, sustainability

Other organisations

CBS, citizens, energy market, industry, PBL, Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM), TNO


Organisation University of Amsterdam (UvA)
Name Prof. dr. B. (Bob) van der Zwaan