In the European Union CO2 emissions should be reduced by 90 percent by 2050. To reach this goal, we need a highly efficient energy system, we have to cut our usage in half and we have to make a radical turn towards renewable energy. How can these long-term goals be met in Austria?
The aim of the E-Trans 2050 project was to develop different visions of the future of the Austrian energy system. This process involved different groups of stakeholders from politics, science and business. The aim was to discover how existing and future technical possibilities can be included in the development of society and the economy, public institutions and culture.
Long-term change as a learning process
A long-term transformation of the energy system as required by the European Union's Energy Roadmap 2050 is a complex learning process for everyone involved. Changes will be needed that require an interplay between technologies, institutions, the economic landscape, cultural values and our behaviour and our lifestyle. Account must also be taken of the interests and strategies of business and the stakeholders in civil society.
E-Trans 2050 put forward recommendations for politicians, energy-management and the companies involved:
First we developed a number of scenarios to describe different possible situations: The first scenario is a step-by-step optimisation of the present system. The second assumes a radical change to a more sustainable energy system. The third deals with a possible crisis.
These scenarios were then discussed in two workshops with representatives of different groups of the population.
All three scenarios were assessed for their potential sustainability. Together with the interest groups concerned, we identified the key points for the transformation of the energy system towards sustainability.
In follow-up workshops we looked at specific approaches for dealing with the change in energy supply for three selected fields: space and energy, expansion of the present electricity infrastructure, and the effects of a new energy-system on the broad public.