Energy Transitions in the Nordic Countries

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Session chairs:
Dr Lára Jóhannsdóttir, Assistant Professor, University of Iceland
Dr Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir, Professor, University of Iceland

This document outlines the Call for Papers (Abstract submission is now closed) for presentations to be delivered within a session titled Energy Transitions in the Nordic Countries, which will be held within the Global Cleaner Production and Sustainable Consumption Conference: Accelerating the Transition to Equitable, Sustainable Post-Fossil-Carbon Societies”, to be held in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 1 – 4, 2015 (

Scope and Rationale

As over 80% of global carbon emissions are derived from energy systems, a worldwide transition to low-carbon energy systems is necessary for success in dealing with the climate challenge. Furthermore, as energy is woven into every aspect of our lives; necessary for economic prosperity, a prerequisite for improved human well-being, but a culprit for environmental stress, sustainable energy development is a prerequisite for sustainable development.

The countries that belong to the so-called Nordic region in Northern Europe (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark) collectively aim to be role-models for sustainable development as well as leaders in shifting to low-carbon energy systems. Significant differences exist between the countries within the region, e.g. in terms of population density and the mix of expected future energy supply where for example Finland and Sweden focus on biomass, Norway on hydropower, Denmark on wind and Iceland on hydro- and geothermal power. What they do have in common, apart from e.g. similar cultural heritage and socio-economic systems, the shift to low-carbon and sustainable energy systems will require radical changes in the Nordic energy system and multiple different transition paths are possible. Given the capital intensity and longevity of energy infrastructure and technologies it is important that decision-makers realize the multifaceted implications of transition choices as they will influence Nordic societies for years to come. Insightful research has been conducted and is ongoing on potential transition paths to low carbon energy systems in the Nordic countries and their potential implications for sustainable development by various research groups, such as researchers that belong to the Nordforsk funded Center of Excellence NORD-STAR as well as the International Energy Agency in collaboration with Nordic Energy Research involving researchers in Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

The objective of this session is to showcase research conducted on the potential transition paths to Low carbon energy systems in the Nordic countries and to illustrate how such transition is indeed possible.  The session will highlight research that compares different transition paths, how they affect sustainability and energy security, and illustrate different research methods used in such research.   In addition, the session will explore how this research has been transformed to aid decision-making.
We solicit papers associated the following indicative themes. The themes and questions are only provisional and were designed to guide the authors for the themes that they may wish to co-explore with others in the session.

  1. Comparing energy transitions in the Nordic countries
    • What are the possible transition scenarios both at national or sectoral levels with a focus on utilities, transportation, industry, households and commercial sectors?
    • What are the sustainability implications of those scenarios, including economic, social and environmental implications?
    • Barriers to energy transitions
  2. Exploring research methods used to assess and compare energy transitions
    • Energy system modeling; e.g. optimization models, system dynamics, agent based models, computable general equilibrium models.
    • Sustainability assessments; e.g. sustainability indicators, participatory modeling, system dynamics, full cost-benefit assessments, social impact and environmental impact assessments.
  3. 3. Policies towards sustainable and carbon neutral energy systems
    • a. Sector and topic focused policies; e.g. energy policies, industrial policies, transportation policies, climate policies
    • b. Macroeconomic policies, fiscal policies
  4. 4. From research to decision-making
    • Examples of how research is translated to decision-making at different levels, ranging from industries to regional and national governments.
    • Examples of how research is translated to decision-support tools used at different levels of decision-making

Format and Procedures for Submission of Responses to this Call for Papers:

Companies are invited to prepare and submit abstracts, in English, of 500 words by May 29th, 2015 via the Global Conference website:

After your extended abstract has been reviewed you will be invited to develop a conference paper on the topic. After the Global Conference, some articles will be selected to be developed for potential publication within one of several Special Volumes of the JCLP that will be developed based upon inputs to the Conference.

For more information contact:
Assistant Professor Lára Jóhannsdóttir
Environment and Natural Resources, School of Business University of Iceland,

Professor Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir
Environment and Natural Resources,
School of Engineering and Natural Sciences,

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