That is why we carry out both scenario studies, in which we identify the consequences of various choices for a future energy system, and research into how the energy transition can remain affordable and how we can prevent and combat energy poverty.
After all, the success of the transition to a sustainable energy supply depends on public support. If the energy transition is to be a success, the entire population must be involved, not just the pioneers.
Predicting the success of plans
In our research, we consider the role of public authorities, businesses and consumers. On the basis of the results, the government can choose the right instruments to promote initiatives for sustainable energy. Many analyses assume that people make rational decisions motivated by the desire to keep costs as low as possible.
Nevertheless, people's decision-making behaviour appears to be considerably more complicated. Investigating the factors that play a role in making sustainable energy decisions makes it easier to predict which plans or measures will be effective.
In the Gridmaster project TNO and partners develop a new method for adequate, solid and formost future proof investment decisions for energy infrastructure in the port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
In scenario and system studies we outline relevant developments and provide scientifically validated insights to stimulate thinking about the energy transition and facilitate the debate. These are not blueprints but exploratory studies. For example, in a white paper entitled 'Scenarios for a climate-neutral energy system' we have elaborated two visions of the future for the period 2030-2050. Studies such as these provide points of departure for the energy policy to be pursued.
Drivers and barriers
For example, we have investigated what drivers and barriers there are for homeowners to make their homes natural gas-free. The results are important for municipalities that are making plans to make their neighbourhoods free of natural gas in the near future.
Partly on the basis of interviews with residents and civil servants in the municipalities of Purmerend and Zwijndrecht, we made an analysis of what makes residents enthusiastic or holds them back. This revealed, among other things, that providing clarity about the chosen approach, including the financial consequences, relieving worries and personal attention are decisive for the success of making homes free of natural gas.
Insight into the entire energy system
Within TNO, technologists, behavioural scientists and energy experts work together to make neighbourhoods free of natural gas in a way that is acceptable to everyone. Thanks to their broad knowledge, they also have insight into the total energy system and can relate making neighbourhoods gas-free to other available energy sources. By making knowledge available in a municipality or neighbourhood, other parties can learn from successes or mistakes.
In the report 'All existing homes gas-free in 2050. Who should do what, when and how?' we give very concrete guidelines for the parties involved. We also include new business models and the desired legislation and regulations.
Energy portal with independent information
With the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, energy experts from TNO have built the energy transition portal energy.nl. Here, energy professionals can find reliable and independent information about the energy transition.
People who have to shape this transition need to be able to make well-founded decisions. In addition to policymakers, the website also offers useful information for teachers, students or, for example, homeowners who are taking sustainable initiatives locally.