Since 2007, we have focused our work on two broad and closely interconnected questions: (1) whether it is desirable for Europe to achieve 100% renewables in cooperation with North Africa (energy security block), and (2) how Europe, alone or in cooperation with others, can achieve the infrastructure necessary to generate and integrate 100% renewables (policy block).
In the energy security block, the emphasis is on improving the understanding of risks, ranging from climate to geopolitical risks, which may arise in an intercontinental renewable electricity scheme. In particular, we focus on developing methods capable of assessing various supply risks in scenarios concerning the future electricity supply.
The policy block seeks to answer the question how a decarbonisation of the European (and North African) power sector with only renewables can be achieved. In this, we emphasise two issues: the importance of expanding the electricity transmission grid within Europe and between Europe and North Africa, as well as the obstacles (especially the investor perception of these) for building renewable generation capacity and transmission lines in Europe and North Africa.
Focused around these two questions, our research is problem-driven and strongly interdisciplinary, at the intersection of political sciences, policy analysis, international relations, sociology, public management, engineering and economics, rather than being rooted in one research discipline only. This means that the research we conduct addresses a wide range of issues, drawing on the appropriate methods from different disciplines and contributing to the corresponding theories. In this sense, our research approach matches the changing role of science in society, where scientific results are more and more expected to be directly policy relevant.