ENCI Scenario Process > Joint Conclusions & Lessons Learned

Joint Conclusions and Lessons Learned from French and German Project Parts

Overview

This chapter gives an overview of the main conclusions from the stakeholder-based scenario creation process that can be useful for others intending to elaborate low-carbon strategies and scenarios with stakeholder involvement. It summarises some of the analysis and conclusions from the previous chapters, but it also uses materials from other project reports.
One factor that cannot be influenced but represents nonetheless a crucial element is the evolution of the political framework due to government changes after elections or events like the nuclear disaster in Fukushima that influenced the public debate and opinion and so the project process.

NGO - Research Institute Cooperation

An important feature of the project was the cooperation between researchers and NGOs for the scenario development. This cooperation opened the discussions between researchers and NGO representatives, enabling to bridge between the two viewpoints. In addition, the approach taken to tackle issues is often very different, and the interaction was to our mutual benefit.

The German and French team, each consisting of one NGO and one research organisation, found it also useful not only to have a national NGO - researcher cooperation, but also to have international cooperation between two similar teams within one project.

To foster viable cross-cultural communication, in the German team, the NGO-partner expressed the expectations in the form of “wish-lists”. At the beginning of a project each partner should write a wish list with expectations concerning outcomes. So, everyone can get a good understanding on how the others perceive his/her discipline. This is described in chapter "Research-NGO" and in more detail in the report ”Social Acceptance in Quantitative Low Carbon Scenarios”, Eva Schmid, et al, 2011.

The German and French partners agree that it is important for successful cooperation between scientists and NGOs to plan a team-building process, and that the method with “wish-lists” worked well in this Project.

Choice of Energy-Economy Models for Scenarios

The ENCI-LowCarb project used hard-linked hybrid models that integrate energy-system modelling into a top-down representation of the macro economy. This is state-of-the-art modelling for national energy paths, similar to the models used by national energy planners and the EU.
 
The competent use of the hard-linked hybrid models increases the credibility of the scenarios and allows the integration of more aspects of future developments than it is possible with simpler modelling tools. Once developed and tested, the hard-linked hybrid models also allow quick developments of new scenarios that are similar to the ones already developed.

A detailed description of the dynamics of the modelling tools for all project partners was indispensable in order to have a common understanding of their potentials and limits. Globally the structure of these advanced modelling tools shaped clearly the scenario creation process and explains the differences between the outcomes of the German and French study.

The use of hard-linked hybrid models requires some resources, mainly in the form of research time. It also requires experienced researchers that are able to handle the model in a competent way. Further, it requires good input data; the quality of the model outputs depends on those of the inputs. In the project, the research teams in Germany and France each consisted of an experienced researcher and a Ph.D. student who spent the majority of his/her Ph.D. project on the adaptation and use of the model.
 
In Germany many scenarios have already been developed for reduction of fossil fuel use, and the use of advanced scenarios can bring new information to the debate. France is characterised by a less diversified scenario landscape.
In other countries, where even fewer energy scenarios are available, it is important first to establish good data for scenarios, including renewable energy potentials, potentials for energy efficiency, costs, etc., and maybe start with simpler modelling tools. 

Stakeholder Involvement - Recommendations

A core activity of the project was the development of a method for the transparent integration of stakeholders’ contributions into the scenario design process to enhance the acceptance of the resulting low-carbon pathways.

Who should be involved?

The first step in order to define who to invite for a process for socially acceptability was to decide which aspect of ”acceptability” should be assessed?

In the context of energy system strategies, social acceptance can have three dimensions: (i) socio-political acceptance, referring to the acceptance of technologies and policies by the public, key stakeholders and policy-makers, (ii) community acceptance of site-specific local projects and (iii) market acceptance, referring to the process of the adoption by consumers and investors of innovative low-emission products.

Within the frame of the ENCI-LowCarb project it was not possible to evaluate “social acceptance”, as defined above, and the focus was rather on “stakeholders’ acceptance”. Social acceptance has different aspects that cannot be assessed with the available project tools.

So it was decided to invite national stakeholders.

The project partners decided to involve a small group of stakeholders (associations, trade unions, banks, enterprises, local authorities etc.) based on their importance in their respective sectors and on their interests by using a “Power-Interest-Grid”. These choices led to stakeholders discussions including contrasted viewpoints. In some cases, a consensus on measures to reach the proposed CO2 emissions reduction was not found. In France it was decided to highlight these non-consensual points with sensitivity analyses and scenario variants.

The processes used to select the stakeholders will depend on the situation. The method used to select stakeholders according to power/influence and interests worked well in this project.

How to Involve Stakeholders?
The project partners adopted a process that started with expert workshops in key sectors. These expert workshops were followed by stakeholders’ dialogue meetings in the same key sectors. For Germany, then followed a final round of feedback on each sector in stakeholders’ meetings, whereas it was followed by a cross-sectoral dialogue meeting in France. Each stakeholder representative was invited to the two stakeholders’ meetings. This provided the option of informing the first scenarios with the expert meetings and of adjusting scenarios between the first and the second dialogues with the stakeholders.
Good preparation and facilitation of the stakeholder meetings is important. In the project, professional facilitators were used for the events.

Recommendations

· From the project we can recommend to integrate further interaction and feedback rounds with the stakeholders.
· Stakeholders want to understand the model dynamics. So sufficient time should be taken to explain the functioning of the modelling tools and to differentiate clearly between exogenous and endogenous variables.
· The more complex the modelling tool is, the more it appears like a black box. It is important to tackle this impression by being extremely transparent on modelling hypothesis and parameters.
· The development of modelling tools and scenarios needs time, which should be duly calculated in the project schedule.
· Projects are always embedded in a lively and changing political surrounding: the project framework should be sufficiently flexible to integrate policy changes.
· Basing a scenario on a limited number of stakeholders is limiting the number of possible views (even if the stakeholders are well selected). It is important to effectuate regular public opinion checks in order to avoid that the scenario is guided by a minority opinion.
· Stakeholders are also individuals belonging to a certain socio-economic environment. As most of the stakeholders have high education and a more than average income this will influence their judgment concerning for example the limit for increasing electricity prices.
 
Read more on the ENCI_LowCarb collaborative scenario process at the Project's Reports, Posters, Fact Sheets or at the Reports - www.enci-lowcarb.eu.
 
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Collaborative Scenario Creation Processes for Germany and France.

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Mar
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• Newsletter No.9, March 2012March, 2012
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