Journal article

An Indicator-Based Approach for Analyzing the Resilience of Transitions for Energy Regions. Part I: Theoretical and Conceptual Considerations

The transition of our current energy system from a fossil-based system to a system based on renewables is likely to be one of the most complex and long-term societal transitions in history. The need for a fundamental system transformation raises the question of how to measure the continuing progress and the resilience of this process over time. This paper aims at developing the conceptualization and operationalization of resilience for energy systems in transition with regard to both social and technical aspects. Based on the resilience concept in social-ecological systems literature, we propose to conceptualize resilience for energy systems building on two core attributes of resilience, namely diversity and connectivity. We present an indicator set to operationalize these key attributes in social and technical systems using: (i) definitions and measurements for three fundamental diversity properties—variety, balance and disparity—and (ii) basic connectivity properties from the social network analysis literature—path length, centrality and modularity. Finally, we reflect on possibilities for an application of these indicators in the social and technical system’s spheres and discuss the added value of the approach for energy transition research.

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