Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation

Utrecht, Netherlands

Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation

Utrecht, Netherlands
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Boon F.P.,Green Bean Solutions | Dieperink C.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Energy Policy | Year: 2014

In order to alleviate urgent and pressing environmental issues, a transition towards decentralised production and consumption of renewable energy is necessary. The establishment of local renewable energy organisations (LREO) can stimulate this transition. In the recent past the number of LREOs has grown substantially in the Netherlands. However, due to their recent emergence little is known about the factors that stimulate or hamper their appearance and development. This research addresses this knowledge gap. Based on a literature review and five expert interviews, explanatory variables that might determine the emergence and development of LREOs were identified. Second, a first assessment of the factors that stimulate the emergence and development of 26 Dutch LREOs is made. Face-to-face interviews as well as an online questionnaire were used to validate this assessment. We conclude this paper with some recommendations for policy makers and LREOs. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Maxim L.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Van Der Sluijs J.P.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2010

Debates on causality are at the core of controversies as regards environmental changes. The present paper presents a new method for analyzing controversies on causality in a context of social debate and the results of its empirical testing. The case study used is the controversy as regards the role played by the insecticide Gaucho, compared with other supposed causal factors, in the substantial honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) losses reported to have occurred in France between 1994 and 2004. The method makes use of expert elicitation of the perceived strength of evidence regarding each of Bradford Hill's causality criteria, as regards the link between each of eight possible causal factors identified in attempts to explain each of five signs observed in honeybee colonies. These judgments are elicited from stakeholders and experts involved in the debate, i.e., representatives of Bayer Cropscience, of the Ministry of Agriculture, of the French Food Safety Authority, of beekeepers and of public scientists. We show that the intense controversy observed in confused and passionate public discourses is much less salient when the various arguments are structured using causation criteria. The contradictions between the different expert views have a triple origin: (1)the lack of shared definition and quantification of the signs observed in colonies; (2)the lack of specialist knowledge on honeybees; and (3)the strategic discursive practices associated with the lack of trust between experts representing stakeholders having diverging stakes in the case. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Giezen M.,University of Amsterdam | Giezen M.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
International Journal of Project Management | Year: 2012

There are many articles discussing time and cost overruns in mega projects. This research, however, looks at a case that was successful in managing these aspects: a metro extension in the Rotterdam Region in the Netherlands. The literature identifies several causes for overruns and the question thus becomes what prevented these causes from occurring? The answer in Rotterdam's case seems to be a strict focus on reducing complexity, or in other words to keep it simple. Therefore, the main focus in this article is on the reduction of complexity and its effects on the planning of mega infrastructure projects. Are there only advantages to this approach or do certain facets of this approach have negative consequences? Using a case study method with interviews, this article shows the conditions under which the reduction of complexity is beneficial or detrimental. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Vermeulen W.J.V.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Progress in Industrial Ecology | Year: 2010

In this article I discuss the conceptualisation and existing empirical research on the creation of sustainable global product chains. This papers sets steps in moving from normative prescriptive approaches towards an empirical descriptive approach, comparing available research in various forms of global markets and types of commodities and lifting the analysis to the level of 'product channels' (the collective level) instead of 'product chains' of collaborating individual businesses. It explores various strategies employed by businesses in international collaboration in product improvement and competitive mechanisms that may support the change towards more sustainable products sourced from developing countries. Recent research in the Dutch-South African value chain of fruits and wine are used as examples to illustrate the virtue of this three level approach. For a full understanding of dynamics in achieving sustainability in global value chains a multi-level theoretical approach is required combining empirical studies at firm level, at global value chain system level and at the level of global dynamics. © 2010 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

Glasbergen P.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2010

Global action networks (GANs) are civil society initiated multi-stakeholder arrangements that aim to fulfill a leadership role for systemic change in global governance for sustainable development. The paper develops a network approach to study some of these GANs as motivators of global collective action and investigates how in their interaction processes the actors involved create the organizational capacity for collective change. Based on a variety of case studies, the paper highlights crucial factors determining the performance of GANs; among them the characteristics of the issue field and the development stage of the GAN. The analysis also shows how GANs play two crucial roles, sometimes in combination, sometimes successively. These are labelled as the broker and entrepreneur role. The paper concludes with some conditions for collective action that are underexposed in collective action theory. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Hoefnagels R.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation | Smeets E.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation | Faaij A.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2010

The aim of this study is to show the impact of different assumptions and methodological choices on the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) performance of biofuels by providing the results for different key parameters on a consistent basis. These include co-products allocation or system expansion, N2O emissions from crop cultivation, conversion systems and co-product applications and direct land-use change emissions. The results show that the GHG performance of biofuels varies depending on the method applied and the system boundaries selected. Key factors include selected allocation procedures and the location of production and related yields, reference land and soil N2O emissions. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

de Wit M.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation | Faaij A.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2010

The objective of this study is to assess the European (EU27+ and Ukraine) cost and supply potential for biomass resources. Three methodological steps can be distinguished (partly based on studies explained elsewhere in this volume) (i) an evaluation of the available 'surplus' land, (ii) a modeled productivity and (iii) an economic assessment for 13 typical bioenergy crops. Results indicate that the total available land for bioenergy crop production - following a 'food first' paradigm - could amount to 900 000 km2 by 2030. Three scenarios were constructed that take into account different development directions and rates of change, mainly for the agricultural productivity of food production. Feedstock supply of dedicated bioenergy crop estimates varies between 1.7 and 12.8 EJ y-1. In addition, agricultural residues and forestry residues can potentially add to this 3.1-3.9 EJ y-1 and 1.4-5.4 EJ y-1 respectively. First generation feedstock supply is available at production costs of 5-15 € GJ-1 compared to 1.5-4.5 € GJ-1 for second generation feedstocks. Costs for agricultural residues are 1-7 € GJ-1 and forestry residues 2-4 € GJ-1. Large variation exists in biomass production potential and costs between European regions, 280 (NUTS2) regions specified. Regions that stand out with respect to high potential and low costs are large parts of Poland, the Baltic States, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. In Western Europe, France, Spain and Italy are moderately attractive following the low cost high potential criterion. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Negro S.O.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation | Alkemade F.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation | Hekkert M.P.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2012

In this paper we present a literature review of studies that have analysed the troublesome trajectory of different renewable energy technologies (RETs) development and diffusion in different, mainly European countries. We present an overview of typical systemic problems in the development of innovation systems around RETs. We make use of the literature on innovation system failures to develop a categorisation of typical systemic problems that hamper the development and diffusion of RETs. Based on this categorisation the paper suggests several policy recommendations to overcome the systemic problems and accelerate the diffusion and implementation of RETs. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All right reserved.

Yu C.F.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation | Van Sark W.G.J.H.M.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation | Alsema E.A.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2011

In a large number of energy models, the use of learning curves for estimating technological improvements has become popular. This is based on the assumption that technological development can be monitored by following cost development as a function of market size. However, recent data show that in some stages of photovoltaic technology (PV) production, the market price of PV modules stabilizes even though the cumulative capacity increases. This implies that no technological improvement takes place in these periods: the cost predicted by the learning curve in the PV study is lower than the market one. We propose that this bias results from ignoring the effects of input prices and scale effects, and that incorporating the input prices and scale effects into the learning curve theory is an important issue in making cost predictions more reliable. In this paper, a methodology is described to incorporate the scale and input-prices effect as the additional variables into the one factor learning curve, which leads to the definition of the multi-factor learning curve. This multi-factor learning curve is not only derived from economic theories, but also supported by an empirical study. The results clearly show that input prices and scale effects are to be included, and that, although market prices are stabilizing, learning is still taking place. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Glasbergen P.,Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Environmental Policy and Governance | Year: 2011

This paper studies the development of partnerships for sustainable development as a process in which actors from various sectors of society (state, market and civil) restructure and build new social relationships to create a more sustainable management practice. In the relevent literature we recognize three perspectives on this issue. From the first, partnerships are studied as single collaborative arrangements. From the second perspective, attention is turned to the external effects of partnerships. Partnership arrangements are seen as tools for deliberate societal change. The third perspective takes a broader view on the governance system. Attention is focused on the changes that partnerships make in the configuration of public decision-making structures. These perspectives will be connected in a Ladder of Partnership Activity, a conceptual device that allows us to better understand and analyse partnerships. The Ladder consists of five core levels, set in a time frame. Each level is represented by a core activity. The Ladder is further encapsulated in three dimensions. Taking examples from recent empirical studies, the paper discusses each of the levels and their relationships. The final section reflects on the applicability of the Ladder concept and its strengths and weaknesses. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment.

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