Local Innovation Impulses for the Transformation of the Energy System (LITRES)

BMBF-funded project at the Chair of International Relations and Sustainable Development

LITRES researched…

how the “Energiewende” can be implemented with the help of local initiatives. The project group, consisting of researchers from Stuttgart, Darmstadt and Berlin, thinks that the increased use of alternative energy resources changes governance structures including political, economic and civil society actors as well. The project's official homepage is availabe here (in German only).

LITRES focused on…

cities, communities and regions, which experiment with new forms of alternative energy supply on a local level. These new forms of political commitment had not been scrutinized either in respect to their form of participation – as situation-specific governance arrangement – nor concerning their potential for the transformation of the energy system – as socio-technical innovations. Especially the interplay of participative-political governance and technical-economic innovation was an academic void LITRES strived to work on within the next three years.

The aim was...

to create hypotheses, allowing for a successful diffusion of local initiatives in the energy transformation with respect to their potential for governance as well as innovation. This contained the identification of both constraints and chances for a successful implementation of regional innovations and the investigation of related technologies. Additionally, solutions as to how these constraints can be removed and chances can be used were proposed. The overall aim was to give these locally restricted innovations a corporative significance.

It had to do with these cases…

There were a few practice partners providing case studies for the research of local initiatives.

Bürgerwindanlagen are wind power plants used and maintained by local operators. Their complete integration as well as an improved regional added value ensure an improved acceptance of the wind parks. Therefore, they are seen as promising innovation impulses. Our partners in this field are the Gemeinde Wildpoldsried and the Bürgerwind Region Freudenberg.

Contracting is a business model where a public contracting authority assigns investments for energy saving measures in e.g. building or plant redevelopment to a third contractor. This proceeding can lead to a professionalization of the energy management and an improved exploitation of potential savings especially in the building sector. In the field of Contracting we are cooperating with the Berliner Energieagentur GmbH and the Klimaschutz- und Energieagentur Baden-Württemberg GmbH in Karlsruhe.

Intelligent Infrastructures aim at the facilitation of decentralized production and feed-in as well as the reduction of the overall energy consumption through IT and modern communication technology. Our praxis partners in this field are MVV Energie in Mannheim and the Hamburg Energie GmbH.

The simultaneous use of thermal energy and production of electricity through small heat and power co-generation plants (Micro CHP units) has already proven its usefulness in both local and district heating networks. At this point, one could think about expanding local networks or switching to alternatives like an installation near the final consumers. Concerning this area, we are in contact with the KWK Bundesverband Kraft-Wärme-Koppelung e.V. and the Stadtwerke Heidelberg Umwelt GmbH.

At the IfPol…

manifold tasks within the project group were worked on. A special focus was laid on the development of an analytical framework for the analysis of local innovation impulses. This framework had to integrate different disciplinary perspectives within the project group as well as the interests of the praxis partners. The focal point of the Münster-based sub-project was the analysis of opportunity structures for the success and diffusion of the innovation impulses in the multi-level governance.

The LITRES Team at the WWU

Doris Fuchs (Project Leader), Antonia Graf (Research Fellow), Student Assistant, N.N.



Ulrike Fettke, Marlies Härdtlein und Antonia Graf. 2014. "Contracting im Kontext der deutschen Energiewende. Eine Analyse des sozio-technischen Innovationsfeldes". LITRES Discussion Paper 2014-03. Read the complete paper here

Susanne Schubert, Marlies Härdtlein und Antonia Graf. 2014. "Mini/Mikro-KWK im Kontext der deutschen Energiewende. Eine Analyse des sozio-technischen Innovationsfeldes". LITRES Discussion Paper 2014-02. Read the complete paper here

Annika Arnold, Marco Sonnberger, Harald Schäffler und Antonia Graf. 2014. "Soziotechnische Entwicklungen und Geschäftsmodellinnovationen im Energiebereich. Ergebnisse aus Workshops zu den Themenfeldern Mikro-/Mini-KWK, Contracting, Intelligente Infrastrukturen und Bürgerwindanlagen". LITRES Discussion Paper 2014-01. Read the complete paper here

The Project Group

Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Abteilung für Organisations- und Innovationssoziologie (SOWI VI), Universität Stuttgart

Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Risiko- und Innovationsforschung (ZIRIUS), Universität Stuttgart

Institut für Energiewirtschaft und Rationelle Energieanwendung (IER), Universität Stuttgart

Fachgebiet Raum- und Infrastrukturplanung (IWAR), Technische Universität Darmstadt

Becker Büttner Held Consulting AG (BBHC)

New Onlineplatform:

There is a new online platform where 33 BMBF-funded research projects are presented. You can find the Online-Platform here

LITRES is funded by the BMBF in the context of research for sustainable development