Linking Stakeholder Engagement to Multiple Future Policies in the European Energy Sector: An Impact Analysis

Linking Stakeholder Engagement to Multiple Future Policies in the European Energy Sector: An Impact Analysis

Charikleia Karakosta (National Technical University of Athens, Greece) and Aikaterini Papapostolou (National Technical University of Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1196-1.ch022

Abstract

European energy, innovation, and climate challenges define the direction of a future European energy system; however, the specific technology pathways are policy sensitive and need careful comparative evaluation. Stakeholder dialogue or exchange is a very enriching experience, as it promotes the communication of different and sometimes controversial ideas, approaches, and expectations. The chapter introduces stakeholder consultation process, so as to analyse the impact of multiple future pathways and policies in the European energy sector. This will be done through a concrete methodological approach based on an institutionalised consultation process of the relevant stakeholders at policy, industry, and research/academic level. Key findings as regards the critical uncertainties affecting the future energy sector reveal that the level of cooperation and the level of decentralisation may play a crucial role in the design of alternative pathways towards a clean energy system.
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Introduction

Stakeholder engagement is becoming an important component of all policy- and decision- support processes (Welp et al., 2006; Phillipson et al., 2012). Dialogue or exchange with stakeholders is a very enriching experience, as it allows scientists or researchers to get exposed to different views, approaches, and expectations on project results (Beringer et al., 2013; Kelley et al., 2016; Yang et al.,2009).

The involvement of key stakeholders is very useful to get an alternative perspective, which stimulates the scientists or researchers to shift the focus from project activities to intended outcomes in the early stage and to clearly communicate main ideas about the project in terms of objectives, milestones and outputs.

As noted by Yang et al. (Yang et al., 2009a, 2009b) stakeholders should be engaged as early as possible and this engagement is essential for stakeholder analysis and decision-making. However, the involvement of stakeholders with different (and sometimes opposite) views, backgrounds and expectations might increase confusion (Pacheco & Garcia, 2012; Pollack et al., 2017; Karakosta & Fujiwara, 2018).

Another important aspect is to define the boundaries of the engagement and the expected positive impacts on the project results (Fujiwara, et al. 2015a, 2015b; Karakosta & Dede, 2015). A series of questions should therefore be answered by the consortium members before approaching the stakeholders, like:

  • What is the added value of the stakeholder participation?

  • How much is its participation contributing to a change?

  • Is this participation appropriate (in terms of investigated topic, point of time for the consultation, willingness of the stakeholder to get involved, etc.)?

  • What level of engagement is being sought?

  • What are the risks, both for the consortium members and the stakeholders, of such participatory process (in terms of image, reputation, relationships, resources, etc.)?

The present paper addresses these issues so as to share good practices with interested stakeholders and help the policy-makers to achieve concrete and action-oriented results in a more effective way. In this context, the specific paper introduces stakeholder consultation process, so as to analyse the impact of multiple future pathways and policies in the European energy sector.

The remaining paper is structured as follows: Section 2 presents the basic elements of stakeholder engagement process, Section 3 analyses the main methodological steps that were developed and Section 4 presents the impact analysis of multiple clean energy pathways. Finally, Section 5 summarizes the main points and provides some concluding remarks.

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Stakeholder Engagment

A science- based stakeholder dialogue is defined as a structured communicative process of linking scientists with selected actors who have specialised knowledge and insights that are particularly relevant for the scientific process. In this respect stakeholders are identified based on the relevance of knowledge or certain competencies rather than on the representation of the full spectrum of interests (Welp et al., 2006). The involvement of stakeholders is key to ensure that the outcomes are immediately exploitable by a large number of interested institutions (Doukas et al., 2016; Fujiwara et al., 2015b; Karakosta & Dede, 2015).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Stakeholder Engagement: The process by which a project involves people who may be influenced by the decisions and results it produces or can influence the decision-making process.

Decision Maker: A person who is responsible to decide, selecting a logical choice from the available options, especially at a high level in an organization.

Dissemination: The public disclosure of the results of a project by any appropriate means (other than resulting from protecting or exploiting the results), including by scientific publications in any medium.

Participatory Approach: An approach that includes numerous methods that involve research participants and key stakeholders collaboratively in a research/ project and are likely to improve the use of evidence, objectivity, and integration of project planning efforts.

Exploitation: The use of results in research activities other than those covered by the action of a specific project concerned, or in developing, creating and marketing a product or process, or in creating and providing a service, or in standardisation activities.

Pathway: It is the process (a set of actions) required in order to achieve the desired outcome.

Policy Recommendation: A simply written policy advice/ suggestion prepared for some group that has the authority to make decisions.

Impact Assessment: Impact Assessment is a means of measuring the effectiveness of organizational activities and assess the significance of changes brought about by those activities.

Knowledge Transfer: The process of sharing or distributing complex information, knowledge, skills and behaviors among organizations/ stakeholders to support mutually beneficial collaborations.

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