Research Projects

Review related research being done by our project partners.

Research team work – CC BY 2.0 – Picture by SupportPDX

  • 2019 – 2021

    Project COALSTAKE

    The Political Economy of Coal Policy: Comparative Analyses of Stakeholder Strategies and Resource Industries’ Embeddedness in the International Economy

    The team consisting of the University of Basel, the University of St.Gallen, and the University of Toronto is running a research program that investigates sources of cross-national differences in coal policy-making.

    Our focus is on the links among energy stakeholders’ resource endowments, practices, and the evolution of discourses around coal energy. The project also addresses issues around local resource-production industries, their positioning in global resource trade, and their employees,  because sustainable fossil fuel policies are not possible without addressing these issues.

  • 2019 – 2021

    Demonstration of system integration with smart transmission grid and storage technologies with increasing share of renewables (OSMOSE)

    Focus / Key Research Questions: The project aims for the development of flexibilities which can be used for a better integration of RES. The approach chosen is global as it considers at the same time, the increased need of flexibilities in the system (mainly improved balance of supply and demand in electricity markets, provision of existing and future system services and allowance of a dynamic control of electricity flows) and the sources of flexibilities (RES, demand-response, grid and new storages). The chosen global approach addresses all system requirements to capture the synergies proposed by the different solutions in order to avoid stand-alone solutions that might be less efficient in terms of overall efficiency. For example a storage operator plans to install batteries in order to provide balancing services. By locating his solution in a network-constrained area, he could contribute at the same time to the management of congestion and by this reduce the costs for the society too.

    Approach / Key Methods: Quantiative Modeling

    Lead partner: RTE

    Contributing partner: TU Berlin and  32 other partners from 9 countries

    Funder: EC, H2020

  • 2019 – 2022


    Focus / Key Research Questions: Establishing communication and interaction among very different models currently stand-alone and unconnected. Creating a shared platform, making existing tools available and linked. The goal is to run more consistent analyses for the energy system transition. In this project, different models will be linked to create a set of open, integrated modeling tools.

    Approach / Key Methods: Quantiative Modeling

    Lead partner: SINTEF

    Contributing partner: TU Berlin, IIASA, NTNU, DIW, …

    Funder: EC, H2020

    Regional Focus: Europe

  • 2019 – Ongoing


    Focus / Key Research Questions: coordination and support action: The project aims to support a number of coal-intensive regions around Europe to design (or re-design) their research and innovation strategies in order to facilitate their transition towards a sustainable energy system

    Approach / Key Methods: stakeholder engagement, joint development of R&I strategies, roadmaps and decision support tools, best practice analysis, assessment of social, technological and environmental challenges, elaboration of guidelines, support R&I cooperation between coal intensive regions in Europe and beyond

    Lead partner: WIP Renewable Energy in Munich

    Contributing partner: Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving in Greece, Research Institute for Post-Mining Landscapes in Germany, University of Strathclyde in the UK, Black Sea Energy Research Centre in Bulgaria, Güssing Energy Technologies GmbH in Austria, The Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres in Belgium, ISPE DESIGN and CONSULTING in Romania, Energoprojekt ENTEL in Serbia, Coal Energy Technology Institute in Ukraine, University of Agriculture in Krakow in Poland, Charles University in Czech Republic, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague in Czech Republic, Jiu Valley Social Institute Association in Romania

    Funder: European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation

    Regional Focus: TRACER focuses on nine regions. Seven are located in EU Member States – South East Bulgaria, North West Bohemia (CZ), Lusatian Lignite District (DE), West Macedonia (GR), Upper Silesian Coalfield (PL), West Romania and Wales (UK). Two are located in countries outside the EU – Kolubara (Serbia) and Donetsk (Ukraine).

  • 2018 – 2021

    Future of fossil fuels

    Focus / Key Research Questions: Investigation of previously under-researched aspects of decarbonizing the German electricity sector in the European context and to derive an assessment of concrete policy instruments for both the German and the European level.
    Different partners provide a trans- and interdisciplinary elements, which allow to better understand the various economic, technical, social, and political hurdles of the upcoming transformation away from fossil fuels in Europe.

    Approach / Key Methods: Quantiative Modelling by PIK and DIW. Qualitative and quantitative appraoches by TU Berlin. Focus on Coal and Gas.

    Lead partner: TU Berlin

    Contributing partner: DIW, PIK

    Funder: BMBF

    Regional Focus: Germany, Poland, UK, Netherlands

  • 2018 – Ongoing


    Focus / Key Research Questions: ‘Contractions’ breaks away from the well-trodden past energy transitions research which focuses on the growth of new energy industries to study the decline of energy industries which are just as important for climate change mitigation.

    Approach / Key Methods: During the project, we seek to understand the causes and consequences of declining energy industries (contractions). We will identify and quantify historical cases of energy industry contractions and compare them to the those needed to meet global climate targets. We explore several questions:

    • How frequently and under what conditions do energy industries contract?
    • What are the social and political consequences of energy industry contractions, and are there policies that have been successful in making these less painful?
    • How do historic energy industry contractions compare to future contractions which we would need to avoid massive climate change?

    Lead partner: IIASA

    Funder: RCN

  • 2018 – Ongoing

    Coal Transition in Ukraine and Russia

    Lead partner: Germanwatch

    Contributing partner: NGO Ecoaction, Russisch-Deutsche Büro für Umweltinformationen, Deutsch-Russischer Austausch

    Funder: Engagement Global, Auswärtiges Amt

    Regional Focus: Ukraine, Kosovo

  • 2018 – Ongoing

    Regions Beyond Coal

    Focus / Key Research Questions: Τake the next step to the post coal era by reviving local economies and ensuring a Just Transition for all = strategy aiming at creating transformative pathways for local economies towards sustainable economic activities, as well as minimising hardships for workers and their communities in the associated industries, through active political and financial support.

    Approach / Key Methods: Advocacy, Knowledge exchange, Stakeholder engagement

    Lead partner: WWF

    Funder: EUKI

    Regional Focus: Greece, Poland, Germany and Bulgaria

  • 2018 – Ongoing


    Focus / Key Research Questions: How can we support the decarbonisation of “high-carbon industry region” in Europe, i.e. economic areas in which the production
    and/or heavy use of fossil fuels constitute an important source of economic prosperity and
    an important share of value added of the region. These are either regions with high intensity
    of heavy, industrial activities that produce a high level of direct greenhouse gas (GHG)
    emissions or regions that are indirectly responsible for high levels of GHG emissions as
    they export fossil fuels.

    Approach / Key Methods: Re-Industrialise is borne out of a recognition that Europe’s overall shift to a net-zero-carbon
    2050 will not affect its regions equally. Because some of its most carbon-intensive regions are
    economically dependent on the assets and processes that climate science tells us we need to
    stop, there is a risk of deep economic and social damage in some regions. This risk presents not just a social challenge for these regions, but a barrier toward the overall 2-degree climate target” (EIT Climate-KIC 2018, 2).

    Lead partner: Wuppertal Institute

    Funder: Climate-KIC

    Regional Focus: Silesia (Poland), North-Rhine Westphalia (Germany)

  • 2017 – 2021

    Carbon and Coal Intensive Regions in Transition – Secretariat

    Focus / Key Research Questions: Governments, business and regions all around the world are moving beyond coal and carbon-intensive technologies. All Europeans should benefit from this transition, and no region should be left behind when moving away from fossil fuels. The Platform for Coal Regions in Transition, established in 2017, helps European countries, regions, communities and workers to the take on the challenge of the required economic diversification of the clean energy transition.

    Lead partner: ECORYS

    Contributing partner: Wuppertal Institute, ICLEI

    Funder: EC

  • 2017 – 2022


    Focus / Key Research Questions: Τake the next step to the post coal era by reviving local economies and ensuring a Just Transition for all = strategy aiming at creating transformative pathways for local economies towards sustainable economic activities, as well as minimising hardships for workers and their communities in the associated industries, through active political and financial support.

    Approach / Key Methods: analysis of past transitions, continuous feedback from stakeholders, institutional policy analysis, legal aspects and quantitative modeling of the European electricity sector including employment effects

    Lead partner: TU Berlin

    Contributing partner: DIW, HU Berlin, Hertie School of Governance

    Funder: BMBF-SÖF

    Regional Focus: Germany, Europe, Colombia, South-Africa, China, India

  • 2016 – 2019

    Coal Transitions

    Focus / Key Research Questions: Coal Transitions is an international research project which aims to develop credible and feasible trajectories and policy guidance for deep transitions in the coal sector in six major coal using countries: China, India, Australia, South Africa, Germany and Poland. The current website was evolved from this research project.

    Approach / Key Methods: Historic Analyses of previous coal transitions. Future projections to phase-out coal. Bottom-up approaches through national “coal teams”.

    Lead partner: IDDRI, Climate Strategies

    Contributing partner: DIW (TU Berlin), IBS, Tsinghua, IIMA, ANU, UCT

    Funder: KR Foundation

    Regional Focus: China, India, Australia, South Africa, Germany and Poland.

  • 2016 – 2019

    Structural Change in Coal Regions

    Focus / Key Research Questions: The project assesses the long-term impacts of phasing out coal-fired power generation on coal-mining regions in Germany incl. Employment effects and cohesian policies.

    Approach / Key Methods: Description and analysis plus engagement in the political process via the communication of (ad hoc) opinions and comments.

    Lead partner: DIW ,TU Berlin

    Contributing partner: IZES, IWH, Öko-Institut

    Funder: Umweltbundesamt

    Regional Focus: Germany

  • 2016 – 2019

    Structural Change in Coal-mining Regions as a Process of an Economic and Socio-Ecological Transformation – Options for a Fair and Socially Acceptable Structural Change in the Light of Climate Policy Targets

    Focus / Key Research Questions: The project assesses two historic processes:

    (1) phase-out of coal mining in the Ruhr area and

    (2) reduction of lignite mining in the Lausitz after the German reunification.

    In both cases, the processes of structural change were supported by a wide range of structural policies. These will be assessed with respect to their suitability to support potential future coal phase-out processes in Germany and other European countries.

    Lead partner: Wuppertal Institute

    Contributing partner: DIW (TU Berlin), ifo Institut, Innovationsregion Lausitz, Institut Arbeit und Technik, Wirtschaftsförderung metropoleruhr GmbH

    Funder: Umweltbundesamt

    Regional Focus: Lusatia, Ruhr Area