Domestic and international climate policies, with renewable power generation as one of their central pillars, are increasingly being explored for their social and economic opportunities. Among these benefits are the linking of water and energy security, social ownership, distributed revenues in the energy system, and improvements in air quality and health. Harnessing the multiple benefits of renewable power generation requires the careful alignment of policy measures, science and technology innovations, and different stakes in society to create an enabling environment.
Since 2014, the IASS Potsdam and the Institute for Applied Ecology in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS-IAE) have worked together to explore the mobilisation of the co-benefits of climate change mitigation, and renewable power generation in particular.
The science-policy roundtable held in Shenyang on September 23–24, 2016 was co-organized by IASS Energy Transition Programme, headed by Sebastian Helgenberger, and the CAS-IAE Research Centre of Industrial Ecology and Sustainability, headed by Xue Bing (IASS Fellow). The event was officially opened and its importance acknowledged by the President of CAS-IAE, Ji Lanzhu, Sebastian Helgenberger on behalf of IASS as well as the Deputy Director of the Liaoning Provincial Center for Science & Technology Innovation, Mr Luo Naiming.
Key notes by Martin Jänicke (IASS / FU Berlin), Xu Yuan (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Sebastian Helgenberger (IASS) and Xue Bing (IASS / CAS-IAE) on Day 1 and Day 2 set the scene for intense mutual learning among 25 representatives from local government and administration, business organizations, innovation centres and local to international research institutes. The topics covered in the roundtable discussions included:
- Mobilising the advocacy potential of socio-economic co-benefits for ambitious and effective climate policy and renewable energy deployment
- Requirements and challenges for establishing policy-relevant, transparent and scientifically sound methods, indicators, and criteria to quantify social and economic co-benefits
- Relevance and approaches of involving stakeholders in co-designing and conducting policy-oriented co-benefit assessments
- Linking water and energy security in Liaoning province
- Dimensions of socio-economic co-benefits and local value creation: connecting societal ownership with the local industry perspective
- Interest-focused co-benefits — the IASS approach and its relevance for China
The participants acknowledged the importance of intensifying Sino-German collaboration on the mobilisation of the co-benefits of renewable energies and energy transition processes, and lent their support to the staging of a follow up science policy roundtable and co-benefits research symposium as well as a joint publication to compile approaches and experiences in assessing and mobilising the co-benefits of renewable energies and energy transitions.
Following the event, the head of the IASS Energy Transition Programme was invited to the German Embassy in Beijing to present the co-benefit approach and workshop results within the ‘Climate Talks’ Format.
Within the work of the IASS, the Co-Benefits or Multiple Benefits approach serves as an integrating concept, connecting key features or renewable energies and energy transition processes such as water and energy security, economic value creation and societal ownership as well as air quality and health benefits.
Keynotes and Impulse Talks:
- Xue Bing (IASS / CAS-IAE): Opening
- Martin Jänicke (IASS / FU Berlin): Co-Benefits of Climate Mitigation: Experiences in Germany
- Sebastian Helgenberger (IASS): Mobilising the Co-Benefits of Renewable Energies – Lessons to be learned from Germany and China
- Xu Yuan (Chinese University of Hong Kong): Climate Change as a Great Villain
- Xue Bing (IASS / CAS-IAE): Co-benefits Approach in China –linking renewable energies, carbon reduction, clean air and local value-creation
- Hubert Thierot (China Water Risk): Linking water and energy security in Liaoning province
- Sylvia Borbonus (IASS): Generating socio-economic values from renewable energies
- Huang Beijia (University of Shanghai for Science & Technology): Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment for products/strategies — case study of the mc-Si Photovoltaic Modules
- Lv Da (LN Sci. & Tech. Innovation Center): Creating Innovation-based Local Value of Co-benefits in Liaoning Province