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Special Issue for Helmholtz Energy System Design (ESD) – Societal feasible Transition Pathways for Sustainable Energy Systems

Sustainable energy transformation is currently experiencing extensive worldwide challenges. These challenges do not only apply to establishing the most appropriate technical or techno-economic design of the energy system, but also increase the need to mitigating climate change and to handle political and societal crises as well as wars/conflicts within and with different countries as well as the pressure to find – as soon as possible – solutions to these challenges.

The current situation emphasizes the need to understand the transformation process as a process of a socio-technical system. This means, the technical energy system is embedded in economic, societal and political processes. They can (and do) push the transformation process, but also impede it. Even more, the aim of the transformation, i.e. a climate-neutral and sustainable energy system, is the outcome of societal mediation.

This understanding increases the complexity of research in sustainable energy systems, since not only technical challenges, like integrating technical innovations into the energy system, have to be considered, but also societal and economic aspects such as behavioral changes, market design and their interrelationships. Furthermore, nowadays geostrategic considerations shape the discussions greatly. Finally, transdisciplinary research approaches gain importance to pinpoint the findings to societal needs and values.

The overarching aim of the special issue is to present the state of current research regarding societal feasible transition pathways for sustainable energy systems, considering the different perspectives described above, but also to give an outlook on future research challenges. The papers in the special issue in particular discuss the following topics:

• long-term governance of the transformation,

• ethics as a value basis for future policies,

• actors’ acceptance of the transformation,

• transdisciplinary, multi-criteria and life-cycle-based assessments of emerging technologies,

• sustainability assessment of future energy systems and their transformation pathways.

The special issue is organized as a semi-open one, i.e. the editors of the special issue will motivate members of their institutes to submit their research findings, if applicable, alongside colleagues from other institutions.

The editors represent three of the leading German energy research institutes, i.e. Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Submission Instructions

Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have carefully read the submission guidelines for Energy, Sustainability and Society. The complete manuscript should be submitted through the Energy, Sustainability and Society submission system. To ensure that you submit to the correct thematic series please select the appropriate thematic series in the drop-down menu upon submission. In addition, indicate within your cover letter that you wish your manuscript to be considered as part of the thematic series 'Special Issue for Helmholtz Energy System Design (ESD) – Societal feasible Transition Pathways for Sustainable Energy Systems'. 

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Guest Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Guest Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.

Lead Guest Editors: 

Martina Haase, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany

Hawal Shamon, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany

Henning Wigger, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oldenburg, Germany

Submissions will also benefit from the usual advantages of open access publication:

Rapid publication: Online submission, electronic peer review and production make the process of publishing your article simple and efficient

High visibility and international readership in your field: Open access publication ensures high visibility and maximum exposure for your work - anyone with online access can read your article

No space constraints: Publishing online means unlimited space for figures, extensive data and video footage

Authors retain copyright, licensing the article under a Creative Commons license: articles can be freely redistributed and reused as long as the article is correctly attributed

For editorial enquiries please contact

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