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Along the life path of energy scenarios by Ricarda Scheele

Along the life path of energy scenarios:

Enhancing scholarly conversations about scenario plausibility end user perspectives


Scenarios become ever more popular in discourses on German energy transition goals. In this context, my research focuses on the still under-developed ‘plausibility concept’ of scenarios: How is plausibility established, assessed and evaluated? A problem I argue is that the literature often addresses energy scenario development, evaluation and usage in separate silos, meaning debates revolve around the superiority of individual methods without considering implications for the use and purpose of scenarios. I propose by considering the life path of energy scenarios as the unit of analysis, we can better follow the trajectories of plausibility and understand its implications.The framework demonstrates how decisions in the development phase may determine formal evaluation processes, but may not account for, or even contradict users’ perceptions. Here I present findings from an experimental study that examines the way users perceive scenario plausibility. The study uses approaches from educational psychology, it considers plausibility as a precondition for conceptual change and relates it to topic emotions, desirability, source credibility and scenarios’ fit with individuals’ pre-conceptions. 


 Ricarda Scheele, M.Sc. is a doctoral student at the Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS), University of Stuttgart and a visiting student at the University of Oxford. Her research, funded by the Stuttgart Cluster of Excellence SimTech, has the German Energiewende as field of application and revolves around questions on qualitative scenario techniques, plausibility assessment and perceptions.


Date: December 6, 2016
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Venue: Tempe Campus - INTDS-B 280