ENERGY SYSTEMS TRANSFORMATION

The Cascade Institute’s Energy Systems Transformation team conducts applied research and analysis to accelerate the energy transition. Their work seeks to harness non-linear change in technological and social systems to produce new solutions.

Using tools to measure and map worldviews and policy preferences, EST team members identify and investigate potential technological and social innovations capable of catalyzing energy system transformation at a rate and scale commensurate with the urgency and magnitude of the climate crisis.

The EST team pursues new research pathways, analyzes emerging data, and provides timely advice to frontline actors including policymakers, financial actors, and activists. This work explores the technological, institutional, and worldview components of energy systems to effectively guide R&D, investment, and implementation of key energy technologies.

In 2023 and early-2024, the Cascade Institute is continuing to build this team to conduct and support energy systems transformation research and action.

“We have an obligation to better understand systemic barriers to scaling up energy transitions, and the complexity of the societal, political, economic, and environmental dynamics involved.”

Cascade Institute Executive Director, Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon

The EST team is a part of Accelerating Community Energy Transformation(ACET) (supported by the Canada First Excellence Research Fund), a multi-partner research initiative helping small- to-mid-sized communities achieve their unique clean-energy systems goals. The Cascade Institute’s Ultradeep Geothermal project will continue to be a core initiative of the EST team, along with new initiatives focused on scaling up community-level energy system innovations to the national and global scale.

It is abundantly clear that there is not just one energy transition; multiple types of ongoing sustainability transitions are moving at different speeds across industries, sectors, and scales, and the nature and speed of the energy transition is the product of complex interactions between technical and social components of the energy system.

Sometimes system transitions are abrupt and non-linear. Systems with dense interactions between system components (like complex energy systems) often possess large numbers of destabilizing (positive) and stabilizing (negative) feedback loops. The result is non-linear system behaviour, which can either produce harmful outcomes or be harnessed to produce rapid positive change.

The Cascade Institute's EST team will investigate this phenomena in order to find new strategies and solutions to guide governments, industries, workers, and communities, through these challenging landscapes.

To stay informed about Cascade Institute EST team news (including upcoming role postings), please follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to our e-newsletter.

EST ICON

EST Role Postings 

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