Energy governance through the lens of sustainability: a review of state-of-the-art

SCK•CEN Mentor

Abelshausen Bieke,, +32 (0)14 33 80 38

Expert group

Nuclear Science and Technology Studies

SCK•CEN Co-mentor

Meskens Gaston , , +32 (0)14 33 21 67

Short project description

The sustainable production and consumption of energy is high on international political agendas, including in Europe. Assessments of energy sources at a European, federal or regional level are often partial in terms of energy technologies considered as well as the framework used for technology assessment. Until now, these frameworks do not fully lend for in-depth comparative studies across a set of common sustainability indicators with the aim of responsible energy governance. Responsible energy governance requires an in-depth understanding of how (and to what extent) existing and future energy technologies meet specific sustainability criteria. Ideally, for this, policy would want to rely on an integrative framework for the assessment of energy transition scenarios, based on state-of-the-art sustainable development criteria and indicators, taking into account environmental, economic and social dimensions as well as the uncertainty and time factors. However, the challenges for energy technology assessment research is that as well the criteria as the various ways energy technologies (would) meet them are open to interpretation, given that the assessments are troubled by knowledge related uncertainty and value judgements. Even the ‘meta-criterion’ of sustainability itself can be understood in multiple ways that are, on top of that, not always measurable and calculable. As a consequence, existing sustainability assessment studies may be done through often incomparable approaches, resulting in a fragmented landscape of assessments aimed to advice policy. The overall aim of the post-doctoral research is therefore to set the basis at Belgian level for a more holistic and equitable identification of optimal energy transition scenarios from a sustainable development perspective, taking into account international cooperation in market- and policy context and cross-border energy flows. This will be achieved by (1) a systematic review of existing studies on economic, environmental or social assessments of energy technologies and the associated energy policies and (2) a systematic review of existing studies on meta criteria of sustainability and sustainable development and of the appropriateness, relevance and transferability in the energy governance sector. The energy technologies considered include but are not limited to nuclear energy, wind energy, solar energy, fossil fuels, geothermal energy, tidal and wave energy, and advancements likely to occur in the next to near future.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

Before applying, please consult the guidelines for application for Post-doc.