Centre for Energy and Society

The Centre for Energy and Society was established as a research group in 2001. In 2006, as part of the reorganisation of NTNU's strategic area Energy, Petroleum, Resources and Environment, the research group was given status as a research centre within the strategic area, comparable to the other centres in the area.

Internationally, the centre is one of the largest research groups in its field, studying social and cultural aspects of energy and sustainability from a social science and humanities perspective.

Energy is a vital resource in modern society. To manage the production and use of energy to cater for a broad spectrum of social needs and in a sustainable way, is a great challenge. To cope with this challenge calls for new and innovative strategies related to policy, technology, economy, and everyday life.

Centre for Energy and Society has been set up to do research to support the formulation of such strategies. In particular, the challenge of global warming and the need to curb the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases makes the need for new approaches to energy production and consumption even larger.

This means that modern societies need to assess its management of energy but also the diverse options that exists for the future. Such assessments have to draw on insights from the social sciences and the humanities.

What concerns influence investments in new production of energy? What are the strengths and weaknesses of existing options to produce renewable energy in terms of their social, economic and cultural aspects? How may society facilitate the design of buildings that use less energy? How will the climate issues influence ways of thinking about energy? These are questions that the Centre for Energy and Society tries to address through its ongoing research. Of course, such questions have to be answered in dialogue with architects and engineers. Consequently, the Centre gives priority to such dialogues with many actors.

The research areas covered by the Centre include:

  • Energy policy and the politics of new renewable energy
  • Energy and everyday life
  • Energy, energy use and the design of buildings
  • The cultural dynamics of new renewable energy technologies
  • Visions of the Hydrogen Society
  • Energy markets and energy actors
  • Climate change and climate knowledge: How it is understood and how it is acted upon.

Coordinator for Centre for Energy and Society: Knut H. Sørensen