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ProdUse – Closing the gap between model-based energy scenarios and its potential users to support evidence-based decision-making for the transformation of the Swiss energy system

At a glance


Model-based energy scenarios can guide decision-making under considerable uncertainty by conceptualizing multiple pathways and assessing associated trade-offs. Although energy transitions require various actors to make long-term and resource-intensive decisions with low margins of error, empirical evidence of how energy scenarios shape decision-making processes is rare. This is often attributed to their complexity and an insufficient consideration of user needs. While scenario producers are mainly incentivised to advance the scientific quality of their work and often lack capabilities to engage with potential users, decision-makers might not be aware of the variety of energy scenarios and the different benefits they provide or miss guidance to apply their insights. This transdisciplinary research approach aims to bridge the gap between scenario producers and users by conducting a holistic empirical evaluation of the factors influencing the perceived credibility, legitimacy and salience of energy scenarios. The perspectives of scenario producers will be represented by the diverse modelling communities existing across various Swiss research institutions. The perspective of decision-makers is intended to include a broad range of actors, such as utility representatives, urban planners, politicians or investors, which are both shaping and affected by the transformation of the energy system. The goal is to identify viable and scalable ways to improve the visibility and usability of energy scenarios, thereby accelerating the energy transition through robust, integrative and evidence-based decision-making practices. For that, an empirically grounded understanding of how and why decision-makers select (or ignore), interpret (or misinterpret) and use (or misuse) energy scenarios is required.

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