New Governance Challenges and Conflicts of the Energy Transition: Renewable Electricity Generation and Transmission as Contested Socio-technical Options

  • Fritz Reusswig
  • Nadejda Komendantova
  • Antonella Battaglini
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 61)


The emergence of renewable energy sources (RES) has broadened the scope of socio-technical options for energy systems. While the conventional fossil-nuclear system has been a highly centralized one, both technological and in economic respects, RES can be implemented in a highly decentralized manner—but can also fit to the traditional centralized pathway. This new option space is associated with many conflicts. The paper reconstructs one basic conflict by conceptualizing future energy options as a strategic action field with incumbents and challengers as stylized key actors. We illustrate this approach by various cases from Germany, Austria, the Mediterranean, and China. The paper argues against a popular stylization of the strategic action field of RES along the dichotomy of centralized versus decentralized options and sketches a mixed future as the more plausible—and more desirable—one. The paper ends by sketching the design of a global super smart grid as the backbone for such a mixed option.


Energy transition Energy conflicts Socio-technical options Strategic action field Super smart grid 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fritz Reusswig
    • 1
  • Nadejda Komendantova
    • 2
    • 3
  • Antonella Battaglini
    • 4
    • 1
  1. 1.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)PotsdamGermany
  2. 2.International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)LaxenburgAustria
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Systems ScienceETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI)BerlinGermany

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