Integrated energy landscapes; how co-evolutionary behaviour informs planning to adapt its strategies

Jessica de Boer, Christian Zuidema

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


Despite ten years of energy transition management, the existing energy system in The Netherlands remains path-dependent and the upscaling of local energy initiatives is still awaiting take-off. For the energy transition to take off transition thinking already suggests that co-evolution between new technologies and social, economic and institutional practises is essential. To strengthen our understanding of the kind of conditions that enable such co-evolution, we adopt an area-based perspective on the energy transition. The area-based perspective helps us to identify how local energy initiatives adapt to their local and wider contexts and vice versa. We identify these mutual adaptation processes with help of the image of an integrated energy landscape: a multifunctional physical and socio-economic landscape in which energy systems are an integrated part. This image allows us to identify various mechanisms for upscaling and expanding local energy initiatives. Based on our empirical work, we highlight four mechanisms of upscaling of local energy initiatives that indicate co-evolutionary behaviour between the energy system and contextual systems, that is the physical landscape, the regional development, (inter)national energy landscapes and the governance system. Given the relevance of initiatives their interaction with local conditions we argue that area-based approaches can add value to existing strategies by focusing on developing linkages between the energy system and its spatial-physical and socio-economic context. Instead of relying on centralised top-down planning of the existing energy system, more flexible, adaptive strategies are needed that, we argue, also need to respond and learn from local conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAESOP Annual Congress - University of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: 9-Jul-201412-Jul-2014


ConferenceAESOP Annual Congress



Cite this