EnVision – Shaping a Vision for the Energy Transition (2019 – 2020)

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Germany can only achieve its climate targets with a successful energy transition. Although a large part of the population, businesses, politics and science support the energy system transformation, it is stalling. A positive vision is lacking that can make benefits and opportunities more visible and helps to set long-term framework conditions. The project “EnVision – Shaping a Vision for the Energy Transition” highlights tensions and conflicts of values of the transition and works out recommendations for political decision-makers on if and how to develop a common vision.

The project wants to contribute to dissolve the current stagnation in the energy system transformation and to link the debates about the energy system transformation and climate protection more closely. A discussion about technologies and quantitative targets only is not sufficient. We also need to answer normative and social questions. Yet, the project “EnVision” does not aim to provide a vision, but rather to contrive a basis for developing a vision by drawing upon examples and principles.

The project results will be worked out in the context of various dialogue formats, and the discussions shall be structured based on an impulse paper. The project is accompanied by a working group of voluntary members of the National Academy of Science and Engineering as well as an Advisory Board with high-ranking representatives from various stakeholder groups.

The HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform is leading out the project together with acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering. The project is funded by the E.ON Stiftung.


in collaboration with:

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Project Report and Videos 17.12.2020

EnVision Final report: We Need Positive Visions for the Energy Transition.

cover 300x212 - EnVision – Shaping a Vision for the Energy Transition (2019 – 2020)BERLIN, Dec. 17, 2020. Would shared, tangible visions facilitate the implementation of the energy transition? And how can we develop such visions? Moreover, which role could the European Green Deal play in this process? These are the questions that the project “EnVision – Shaping a Vision for the Energy Transition” has been investigating for a year now. The conclusion: Yes, visions can advance the energy transition. They can help overcome hurdles and rally society behind a common goal instead of getting lost in often small-scale and complex challenges. Knowing what you stand for can alleviate fears and give the energy transition a new dynamic.

A determined energy transition entails a societal transformation. After all, the energy transition is more than just changing energy production and consumption; it is not limited to a technical transformation. If it is to succeed, it is necessary to question everyday habits. Ultimately, therefore, to make the energy transition a success, the question to be asked is: “How do we want to live in the future?”

The project results show that there cannot be a single process for this transformation. Rather, a variety of elements have to work together, from the international to the local level. Rather, various elements must interlock, from the international to the local level. An effort to shape the future needs courage and momentum.

The European Green Deal Must Also Arrive at the Local Level

Energy and climate policy cannot be thought of locally, regionally or nationally, but must be understood and implemented as a common challenge. The European Green Deal can be an excellent opportunity for generating new visions for this transition if it also engages the local level, enables participation, and uses financial resources in a transparent and sustainable way.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how quickly normalities and routines can change. Can conclusions be drawn from the pandemic and crisis management for the energy transition? Most project participants expect that individual behavior patterns will also change in the long term as a result of the pandemic, such as mobility behavior and the use of digital media and formats.

Further Information on the EnVision Project

The project approached the aforementioned research questions in more than 20 individual discussions and leading question interviews with experts from science, politics and administration, business and organized civil society. Subsequently, the project held three expert workshops and a trialogue. In two steering meetings, the project team discussed interim results with a monitoring group consisting of experienced experts from the various stakeholder groups. The final report summarizes the findings of the project.

The final report can be downloaded here (in German).

The Diversity of Perspectives of Project Participants is also Shown in Videos Here:

  • The first video addresses the question why we need visions for the energy transition. Among others, Dirk Neubauer, who as mayor of Augustusburg has visioned in citizens’ projects, Eva Welskop-Deffaa – head of social and energy policy of the German Caritas Association and René Mono, the managing director of the 100 percent renewable foundation.
  • The second video is about how we arrive at visions that are supported by society. Participants include Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald – Director of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Annemarie Botzki – press spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, and MdB Lukas Köhler – climate policy spokesperson for the FDP parliamentary group
  • The third interview series answers how the COVID-19 pandemic affects visions for the energy transition. Participants include Prof. Dr. Gesine Schwan – President of the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform and Prof Dr. Dr. Otwin Renn from the IASS – Institute for Transformative Social Research as well as MdB Barbara Hendricks Health Minister (ret.).

To get an overview of the EnVision project and its aim, watch this video.

The project is being carried out jointly by the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform and acatech until the end of 2020 and is funded by the E.ON Foundation.

EnVision Mid-Term Review: Visions as a Driver for the Energy Transition 31.07.2020

Half-Time in the EnVision Project: Can Shared Visions Ease the Energy Transition?

The project team from the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform and acatech has been investigating this question in collaboration with additional experts from the energy sector since November 2019. The majority of them answered in the affirmative. In the next step, the project participants are now discussing who should shape visions and how these could influence society.

The Energy System is More Than Technology and Economics – Values, Environment and Social Issues Need to be Part of the Discussion

Many of the interviewees and participants agree that a discussion only about technologies and quantitative goals of the energy transition is not enough to win society over to the transformation. Normative and societal aspects must be addressed in the same way.

You can find the complete news report (in German) here.

Kick-off Event: Steering Committee 28.01.2020

Kick-Off Event for EnVision – Shaping a Vision for the Energy Transition

At the kick-off event on 28 January 2020, 17 experts from science, business and civil society discussed which developments are currently slowing down the energy system transformation and how existing contradictions and areas of tension could be overcome. A central question was whether a common vision was necessary for this and how this would have to be shaped to motivate the majority of society.The event was opened by Reinhard F. Hüttl, Vice President of acatech. “A social consensus is needed for a low-emission future. We need a common vision. But this vision must also be achievable,” explained Reinhard Hüttl. Participants at the event expressed different views on the benefits of a vision for energy system transformation. The basic tenor: visions of the future can make an important contribution, provided they are developed in a credible and confidence-building manner. But there can be no single vision alone – the change is too comprehensive and complex for that. A common goal could be to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. However, the path to this goal must be communicated to all social actors in a transparent and comprehensible manner. “EnVision should be a project that encourages and takes away fear,” summarized Pia Haase, one of the spokespersons of Fridays for Future Berlin.

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The participants agreed that the motivation for implementing the energy system transformation begins at the local level. Cities and municipalities are already involved in climate protection and local energy production in many different ways. There, citizen participation can be experienced at first hand. One challenge, however, is to transfer successful projects to other regions and also to establish them at state and federal level. In some cases, the prerequisites are very different, and the perspectives of the citizens differ from place to place.“We need a basic consensus on what freedom, justice and solidarity mean for us,” concluded Gesine Schwan, President of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform. The half-day event was accompanied by the graphics and communications agency Ellery Studio. In a “Gallery Walk”, these areas of conflict illustrated the energy turnaround, examples of best practice and the importance of visions in order to inspire the participants for the discussion.The complete news report in German on the kick-off event can be found here.