Applying the Sustainability Science Principles of the Göttingen Approach to Initiate Renewable Energy Solutions in Three German Districts

  • Peter Schmuck
  • Marianne Karpenstein-Machan
  • André Wüste


This chapter reports on an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary action research project that applies sustainability science principles and supports the conversion of the energy supply from fossil and nuclear fuels to biomass and other renewable energies in three districts in Lower Saxony, Germany. The project began in 2009 and is still continuing. The first steps were: (1) A partner district selection to identify districts highly likely to realise the intended changes. A suitability criteria list was compiled and three districts were selected. (2) In these districts, a detailed analysis was performed of the de facto state of biomass use for energy production, with special focus on existing personal networks, bioenergy potentials, related conflicts, and actual plans. (3) Planning workshops were arranged with local politicians, regional administration staff for agriculture and environment and other stakeholders, such as farmers and nature conservation activists, who articulated their regional conversion goals, developed concrete projects and discussed ways to realise these plans. The setting was consensus-oriented and moderated by the team of scientists. They also supported this energy conversion process and performed parallel research.


Action research Sustainability science Bioenergy regions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Schmuck
    • 1
  • Marianne Karpenstein-Machan
    • 1
  • André Wüste
    • 1
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Centre for Sustainable DevelopmentUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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