A participatory exploratory modelling approach for long-term planning in energy transitions (2018)

Moallemi, E. A., & Malekpour, S. (2018). A participatory exploratory modelling approach for long-term planning in energy transitions. Energy Research and Social Science, 35(February 2017), 205–216. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.10.022


Energy transitions are complex transformation processes, which involve different actors and unfold in a deeply uncertain future. These features make the long-term planning of energy transitions a wicked problem. Traditional strategic planning approaches fail to address this wickedness as they have a predictive, deterministic, and reactive standpoint to future issues. Modelling approaches that are used within conventional contexts are perceived to be inadequate too. They often simplify the qualitative characteristics of transitions and cannot cope with deeply uncertain futures. More recently, new ways of qualitative participatory planning, as well as new approaches to quantitative modelling have emerged to enable policy analysis under deep uncertainty. We argue that qualitative participatory and quantitative modelling approaches can be complementary to each other in different ways. We operationalise their coupling in the form of a practical approach to be used for long-term planning of energy transitions. The suggested approach enables energy decision makers to test various policy interventions under numerous possibilities with a computational model and in a participatory process. We explain our approach with illustrative examples mostly from transitions in electricity sectors. However, our approach is applicable to different forms of energy transitions, and to the broader context of transition in any societal system, such as water and transportation.

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