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Sarah Kilpeläinen: Nordic energy transition is a societal transformation with a strong political aspect

Tampereen yliopisto
SijaintiKalevantie 5, Tampere
Keskustakampus, Linna-rakennus, luentosali K103 sekä etäyhteys.
Ajankohta14.10.2022 9.00–13.00
PääsymaksuMaksuton tapahtuma
Sarah Kilpeläinen henkilökuvassa, Tampereen yliopiston keskustakampuksen päärakennuksen aulassa.
Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement – mitigating climate change and decarbonising societies – requires a successful energy transition to a renewable energy system. The dissertation of M.Soc Sc. Sarah Kilpeläinen argues that the ongoing energy transition should be understood as a far-reaching societal transformation with a strong political dimension.

The Nordic energy transition is based on a set of ambitious high-level strategies in the interconnected fields of energy and climate policies that position the Nordic countries as frontrunners in the European Union and the world. However, translating these goals into actionable policy frameworks that include measures and instruments, which aim to mobilise and include entire societies, is an enormous task.

In her doctoral dissertation, Sarah Kilpeläinen argues for a more explicit focus on the political aspects of the ongoing energy transition through an analysis of policies, stakeholders, and interests in the unfolding transition of the electrical energy system in the Nordic region. Kilpeläinen focuses on two central research problems. First, the role of stakeholders and their interests in the energy transition, and second, the role of Nordic co-operation in realising the energy transition in the region.

The findings show the strong commitment of diverse stakeholders to the overall policy goal of the transition to a low-carbon electrical energy system in the Nordic region. Carbon neutrality and sustainability emerge as shared, overarching interests in the region. Furthermore, the diverging interests of specific stakeholders illustrate different pathways and combinations of policy measures as well as preferred technological solutions to facilitate the energy transition.

“There is a strong consensus on building on the existing strengths of mutual cooperation in energy transition in the Nordic region and on developing co-operation while work at the national and EU levels also continues,” says Kilpeläinen.

“At the same time, a further institutionalisation of co-operation is critically regarded. My study also highlights the fact that enough room must be given to the heterogeneity of the Nordic region when developing and building policy frameworks to ensure a balance between different national interests,” Kilpeläinen points out.

The dissertation contributes to developing a more holistic understanding of the energy transition that highlights the importance of political and societal aspects to complement technological approaches. Focusing on the interests of diverse stakeholders and the impact they have on policy development and the development of co-operation opens the energy transition as a complex societal transformation.

The doctoral dissertation of M.Soc.Sc. Sarah Kilpeläinen in the field of international relations titled The Politics of the Nordic Energy Transition: Policies, Stakeholders, and Interests will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Management and Business at Tampere University on Friday, 14 October 2022 at 12 o’clock in lecture hall K103, Linna building, Kalevantie 5. The Opponent will be Professor Karen Smith Stegen (Jacobs University, Germany) while Professor Pami Aalto is the Custos.

The dissertation is available online at https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-03-2549-7.

You can follow the dissertation defence also via remote connection. (Zoom)

Photo: Jonne Renvall