KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Intitut Essen, KWI)

Project Framework to Implement the Energy Transition at the Local Authorities of the Ruhr Area

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Fischedick, Prof. Dr. Claus Leggewie
Cooperation Partner: Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Technische Universität Dortmund
Coordination: Lea Schmitt

Funded by: Stiftung Mercator
Duration: 2012-2016

Alternative Energies in the Ruhr Area
© Stiftung Mercator, Photo: Brigitte Kraemer


The Ruhr region is currently undergoing a profound social transformation which is expressed among others through the economic restructuring as well as through a demographic and social change. At the same time, the municipalities of the Ruhr region are faced with the challenging task to contribute to the climate change mitigation policies of the Federal and the State Government and to implement the energy system transition at local level. It must be ensured that the social transformation is designed in such a way that it is closely linked to the requirements of a sustainable climate protection.
In this context, the project "Framework to Implement the Energy Transition at the Local Authorities of the Ruhr Area" (Municipal energy system transition) aims to make a contribution. It aims to investigate the structural, political, cultural and institutional conditions that are necessary for the implementation of the climate protection and the energy system transition at local level. Another aspect within this project will be the development of the formation of an adequate process.

The project focuses on the question of what specific barriers and conflicts impede the implementation of the energy system transition in the municipalities and what kind of solutions can be found for this specific purpose. It is important to systematically evaluate existing experiences, to enable learning processes among the individual municipalities and to supplement the knowledge about options for action for a successful implementation of the energy system transition within the municipalities through targeted research projects and the initiation, monitoring and systematic evaluation of demonstration projects.

The key elements of the framework programme are the following:
Initial phase (2012-2013) - This project component consists of a detailed spatial analysis of the infrastructural, technical and social initial situation in the Ruhr valley.
Implementation phase (2013-2016) - Based on the preliminary investigations, this phase continues with both basic research projects as well as specific implementation projects in selected municipalities.
Local networking platform - The emphasis on the cross-linking effect of this research programme is of particular importance. Therefore, the platform - as another key element of the project - will generate new ideas for the scientific research projects involving the different municipalities at any time.