On 22 November 2023, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the IEECP hosted a workshop on “Stakeholder-driven energy scenarios for a just transition: Dialogue with the Scientific Community”. The workshop brought together 15 experts in person and around 150 participants from different sectors online. During the workshop, participants shared best practices on participatory scenario development, addressed model limitations and discussed how to formulate more inclusive energy scenarios through stakeholder collaboration.
After a brief introduction by the organisers, the workshop began with a keynote presentation by Connor McGookin from the ΔE+ Research Lab, Simon Fraser University, Canada, who presented a framework for advancing participatory energy system modelling. A pre-print of his work is available here.
Afterwards, four lightning talks by Katherine Lonergan (ETH Zurich, , recent publication on energy systems modelling for just transitions), Andrzej Ceglarz (Renewables Grid Initiative), Francesco Lombardi (TU Delft, SEEDS project) and Stefan Gsägner (World Wind Energy Association) provided insights into best practices for engaging stakeholders in scenario and modelling processes.
After the presentations, the participants discussed different aspects that are important for a more just modelling of processes in a world café. The discussion was guided by four (virtual) tables, each with a guiding question.
10 key takeaways on how to better engage stakeholders in scenario and modelling processes and how to make models and modelling processes more inclusive and fairer:
- Modelling processes need to have a clear purpose and goal.
- Modelling processes need to be transparent, including clarity about the data and assumptions used and the outputs.
- Stakeholders must be involved early and continuously in the modelling process, not just passively as respondents.
- Relevant stakeholders need to be mapped and stakeholder identification needs to be open and inclusive. Engaging different stakeholders, including civil society, will ensure that different perspectives are represented in the models.
- Modelling needs ‘safe spaces’ for open discussion; these can be online or offline workshops, one-to-one discussions.
- Co-creative approaches should be used to build mutual understanding of different approaches and to allow different perspectives to be considered. Innovative method to communicating models should be explored to create a user experience around models.
- Modelling processes should consider issues of fairness and affordability of policy options. Case studies could be used to assess the impact of transformation, including costs and benefits.
- Modelling should be complemented by social science research to better understand social aspects such as lived energy experiences or energy poverty. Thus, the sensitivity of the model needs to be extended to social aspects.
- Stakeholder engagement should be better recognised in project funding, as it is important for inclusive and transparent modelling processes.
- Each person building a model has a particular mental model that represents their world view. This needs to be recognised in the modelling process.
The results of the workshop will feed into the IRENA’s toolkit for energy planners focusing on stakeholder engagement and a book chapter on the role of interdisciplinary research in energy modelling, written by institutions such as the Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy (IEECP), TU Delft, University College London and ΔE+ Research Lab. The workshop was supported by the SSH Centre funded by Horizon Europe.
For further information, contact Diana Süsser (IEECP) or Nadeem Goussous (IRENA).