EnerChangeOvercoming division in North-Rhine-Westphalia – Communicating the Energy Transition to everybody

The German Energiewende is generally described in abstract and impersonal terms: emission reduction, efficiency, resilience and so on are little help to engage laypersons in goals and processes of the Energiewende. Arguments based on distant time horizons eg. the payoff of a new roof in 30 years or responsibilities for future generations are little help either. Connecting the Energiewende to daily live and embedded experience in contrast makes a re-attachment of knowledge and meaning possible (Jasanoff 2010).

The central question of the project EnergChange is how to create a new Energy-Society together with those generally not reached by scientific communication about the Energiewende. Using literature- and data analysis, expert interviews and case studies a body of knowledge is created about those regions in NRW especially influenced by structural changes. International good-practices on how others deal with similar changes are incooperated as well (WP1). Based on this the project aims at developing strategies to communicate the aims and processes of the Energiewende in such a way that it is relatable to daily life and embedded experiences (WP 2). The next step is a “Citizen Engagement Process” in which the developed communication concepts are tested accompanied by real world experiments (WP 3 and 4). The results will be discussed with experts and decision-makers.

The project work at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities will focus on non-textual communication of the Energiewende. Based on existing projects and approaches concepts will be developed and refined in cooperation with experts. The resulting concepts will be tested in different contexts.