There is a broad realisation that coal and eventually fossil fuel need to be phased out of the European energy system and industry processes. There are well recognised regions in Europe where energy production, industry output and local communities heavily rely on the use of different types of coal. Their income, work and the whole regional economy is dependent of that local resource. For the affected communities the phase out of coal recalls many unsuccessful transitions, especially in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) where social issues were not properly addressed.
In this regard, social innovations are considered as sustainable energy transitions enablers that offer alternative ways of organising, thinking and doing. Equally relevant are governance innovations, which can increase the transition’s inclusivity, transparency and democracy and thus citizen engagement. While the diversity of social innovations required is widely recognised, their success, contributions and future potential are not self-evident nor predetermined (e.g. automatically leading to greater social acceptance of energy transitions).
This workshop aims to unpack the role of social innovations in the transitions of carbon intensive regions with a mixed group of researchers, practitioners and policymakers working on that topic in a highly interactive setting.
The main issues we hope to address will be related to:
- Understanding and defining “just transition“: From just a transition towards a truly just transition
- Locating social injustices and identifying solutions?
- Who are left behind and ignored and how to integrate their voice?
- How fair the processes of remediation of such injustices are?
- Explore different pathways leading to a successful and inherently just transition
- Develop a set of recommendations for EU level and national policy makers as well as local representatives and communities
Attendees have been invited to critically think together and learn from one another on how to bring forward energy transitions by examining the practices, contributions and challenges of social innovations as a driving factor. We will openly share and discuss on-going research and practice on social innovation in the transitions and possibly co-author a viewpoint article as a collective output.
Workshop participants and outputs
The workshop will gather policy-workers from the European Commission and associated bodies, energy-SSH researchers, advisory groups, and energy technologists with an appetite to engage with SSH. Discussions will directly feed into a recommendations-based report that will be submitted to the European Commission’s energy strategy unit in the Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (EC DG RTD). It will also be published online in open access at the end of September 2019.
If you are interested in finding out more about the outputs from this workshop you may contact Ada Amon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Aleksandra Wagner (email@example.com).