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

Project EnerTransRuhr - Cultural Mapping of the Energy Turnaround in the Ruhr Region

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Claus Leggewie (KWI-subproject), Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind, Dr. Peter Viebahn (Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy)
Cooperation Partner: Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy

Funded by: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Duration: 09/2013 - 02/2017

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The Project EnerTransRuhr analyses and develops strategies for the German energy transition with a focus on increasing energy efficiency in buildings in the Ruhr area cities Bottrop, Dortmund and Oberhausen. Over the course of the project the four phases of the transition cycle are covered: (1) an integrative system analysis, which includes energetic and resource implications of building refurbishment as well as a cultural mapping, in order to evaluate the cultural dimension of the energy transition, (2) vision development, (3) concrete real-world experiments, and (4) developing strategies for the diffusion of successful approaches. The project provides a conceptual and methodical framework by which the “Energiewende” can be analysed and scientifically accompanied in an integrative way.
Integrating the various individual projects is achieved via an agent-based model (ABM). This model provides a common language for grasping the variety of influencing factors of energetic refurbishment strategies. Real-world experiments, in this case "living labs", where users test concrete strategies, and "governance experiments", where management and incentive strategies are being tested, are used to inform the process of further developing and optimising the ABM.

The energy turnaround is not only a technological challenge but also an eminently political one in that its democratic legitimation requires a high degree of social mobilisation. Using methods of qualitative, ethnographic social research the KWI-subproject "Cultural Mapping of the Energy Turnaround in the Ruhr Region" is looking for frictions and connections between externally induced innovative processes and the living environment by referring back to the notion of "change agents".