SteuerBoard Energie

Governance mechanisms in the polycentric energy system of the future

The energy sector is undergoing a transition process worldwide. The goal is to reduce CO2 emissions. However, measured against political goals such as The Paris Agreement, this development is progressing too slowly - also in Germany. A large number of actors steer the energy transition processes at different levels: from central (e.g., legislators, transmission system operators) to regional (e.g., federal state governments) to local (e.g., local governments, local distribution system operators). This interplay of actors at different levels, each setting standards and rules for a particular area, is referred to as "polycentric governance." Various hopes are associated with such a form of governance: fostering innovation through an experimental environment, increased resilience, greater direct participation and equity, and the possibility of rapid transition through many, bottom-up changes.
The goal of the project is to determine how polycentric governance works as a governance mechanism in the energy system of the future, and to describe transition pathways to sustainable polycentric governance.

Focus on digitalization and financing

The SteuerBoard Energie project focuses on two key factors in the governance of the energy transition: Digitization and Financing. The research project focuses on the following questions:

  • How can a polycentrically managed energy system be designed for sustainable development?
  • What contribution can digitization and financing of the energy system make to this?

In the area of financing, current debates on more sustainability in financing (sustainable finance) and on the legal framework conditions will be taken up. Digitization will be examined and questioned as a possible "enabler" of ecological-technical integration and self-organization in the energy system.
For politics and administration, recommendations for action and guidelines will be developed in order to activate citizens and other decentral actors for the energy transition and thus contribute to the energy transition picking up speed again and achieving the climate targets. Recommendations and tools for practice aim to improve business models and decision-making processes.
The junior research group is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of Social-Ecological Research (SÖF). This is part of the framework program "Research for Sustainability" (FONA).

Research partners

Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW)

The Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) (non-profit) is one of the leading institutions in the field of applied environmental and sustainability research. It has its headquarters in Berlin and an office in Heidelberg. IÖW pursues the guiding idea of a scientifically based linkage of ecology and economy. Goal orientation, analysis procedures and design instruments are based on the fundamental idea of the ecological structural change of society.

ECOLOG Institute for Social-Ecological Research and Education

ECOLOG Institute for Social-Ecological Research and Education (non-profit) is an interdisciplinary research institution that accompanies and supports the societal process of transition to sustainable development through scientific analysis, consulting and education. Scientists from the University of Hannover and employees of the Wissenschaftsladen Hannover founded the institute in 1991. With the foundation of the institute, an institutional framework for socially engaged, interdisciplinary research was to be created in northern Germany. ECOLOG Institute has locations in Lüneburg, Hannover and Bugewitz near Anklam.