Research at IEK-STE focuses on four key areas: "Energy systems as socio-technical configurations", "Energy systems and the land-water-energy nexus", "Energy infrastructures" and "Energy technologies and life cycles".
IEK-STE investigates the long-term characteristics of energy systems and the consequences of energy transition in the context of transformation and innovation. The key objectives of our work include economic viability, environmental compatibility, and social acceptability. We consider energy systems as socio-technical configurations in which technologies, institutions, stakeholders, social practices, and cultures are mutually interdependent and embedded within processes of economic and societal change. On this basis, our work centres on the analysis, development, and evaluation of transformation pathways. To achieve this, we conduct research into energy systems at different levels (individual technologies, technology chains, infrastructures, overall system) and dimensions (time, geographic location). Beyond the perspective of techno-economic efficiency, we focus on the social feasibility of transformation pathways and evaluate socio-technical interactions in the context of guiding principles such as sustainable development and green economy.
Our research thus generates systems knowledge about structural relationships and orientational knowledge in the form of sustainability assessments. We take the perspectives and conflicting goals of the various stakeholders into account and provide decision makers in politics, economy, and society with the knowledge required to take action on transforming the energy system based on scientific findings. The interdisciplinarity of our team provides a unique selling point in facilitating a holistic approach, ranging from engineering to economics and the social sciences. About us...
Institute Director (commisarial): Dr. W. Kuckshinrichs