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The Geopolitics of Renewables Simulation

Funder: European CommissionProject code: 2020-1-NO01-KA226-HE-094039
Funded under: ERASMUS+ | Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices | Partnerships for Digital Education Readiness Funder Contribution: 259,183 EUR
Open Access mandate
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The Geopolitics of Renewables Simulation

Description

BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECTThe Paris Agreement aims at strengthening the global response to climate change. In Europe, the European Green Deal sets out to reach climate-neutrality by 2050. In order to achieve these goals, national and common EU policies support the use of renewable energy. New cross-border interconnections within the continental energy system are being built, a single energy market allows energy trade across the Union, and cooperation between communities, companies, universities, regions, and countries opens new pathways to a more sustainable way of life and new technologies. However, climate neutrality is not only a great opportunity, it also represents a formidable challenge. While public discourse rightfully describes renewable energy as a solution to climate change, planning and implementing the necessary common measures remains difficult. Largely due to its market-disrupting effects, the energy transition meets a complex set of opportunities and challenges. This is particularly true at the international level, where the different interests of individual countries further complicate the transition. Hence, if climate protection and sustainability are to bet achieved, the international ramifications of new energy technologies need to be understood. Furthermore, qualified personnel is needed to reap the opportunities stemming from renewable energy. OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECTAround the year 2015 a handful of scholars started to explore the impact of renewables on interstate energy relations. Publications by Stratfor and The Economist have given the topic of the 'geopolitics of renewables' international recognition. A 2019 report by the International Renewables Energy Agency was another watershed moment. Since then, studies abound. In response to COVID-19, the ‘Geopolitics of Renewables Simulation' (GeoReSim) project now aims at developing an international learning environment that provides university students with a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved with the transition to renewable energy. In view of the need for digital tools for distance learning due to the pandemic, the GeoReSim project will develop a fully digital and web-based solution. Developing and using this digital learning platform (the 'Geopolitics of Renewables Simulation') represents the central goal of the GeoReSim project. Despite temporary interruptions of in-class learning activities due to COVID-19 (or similar crises), this software will allow students to engage in simulated, real-time negotiations of international energy and climate policy with peers at other universities. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIESThe GeoReSim project will first define a number of 'rules of the game' that capture the international implications of the transition to renewable energy (lead by Ghent University). It is intended to make the results of this policy-relevant work available via the International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA. Secondly, based on relevant experience, the simulation will be developed (TU Delft 'Gamelab' in the lead). Via different project activities, the simulation will be developed and tested. Student groups at the partner universities will contribute to this process. Finally, a didactically-oriented publication will be elaborated (lead by TU Munich). Dissemination activities aim at maximising the outreach. NUMBERS AND PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTSThe project activities will bring together four ambitious project partners: Ghent University, TU Delft, TU Munich and the University of Stavanger. The project activities will be embedded in ongoing courses at these universities, and reach a cohort of circa 120 students during the project's lifespan.METHODOLOGYProviding an international, web-based learning environments represents the core output of the GeoReSim project. All project activities will, in various ways, contribute to the development of an online platform designed for exploring the relationship between renewables and interstate energy relations. The learning experience of the students during two test runs during the project represents an integral part of the development process. SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE RESULT AND IMPACT ENVISAGEDThe Geopolitics of Renewables Simulation is to be a didactically sound and lasting result. Its development and later usage will contribute to the digital competencies of educators and students alike. Moreover, the project result will increase the understanding of the dynamics of transnational negotiations in the field of renewable energy. The various project activities are suited to increase the practical skills of the participating students and increase their employability. POTENTIAL LONGER TERM BENEFITThe project is suited to facilitate a smooth, i.e. fast, stable and just transition towards sustainability and renewable energy. The outcomes of the GeoReSim project will open the way for further use of digital technology for teaching, training and research.

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