Lead project

New Energy Spaces – Dimensions of Sociospatial Relations in Regional Energy Transitions

Research Department: Institutional Change and Regional Public Goods

IRS Research Topic: Spatial Path Development and Institutional Change Forms and Implications of Spatial Governance Crisis and Resilience in Multi-level Governance

Project Leader within IRS: Dr. Ludger Gailing

Project Team: Andreas Röhring Prof. Dr. Kristine Kern Dr. Timothy Moss Andrea Bues

Duration: 01/2015 - 12/2018


The German energy transition has brought about changes as regards spatial structures and the ways they are utilised and at the same time it poses a challenge for spatial policy. The spatial design of so-called “energy transitions” through politics, administration, business and civil society is not only a problem for the whole of society in Germany, but also in many other countries. The lead project directs focus towards an aspect of the German energy transition which is particularly promising both politically and scientifically: new energy spaces. By this are meant not only the changes to the physical relationships of more decentralised electricity generation systems and the required distribution network structures, but also the creation of new energy policy action spaces (such as bioenergy regions), the construction and shaping of new energy landscapes, and the transformation of the scalar relationships between energy policy and the energy sector.

The lead project investigates new energy spaces as expressions and vehicles of the energy transition, using empirical analyses from Germany, Canada and Scandinavia. Some examples are the creation of new action areas around renewable energies, tensions between old and new energy regions, and experimentation spaces for energy policy in cities. These cases are brought to light from the theory-based perspective of the „TPSN framework“ (Jessop et al. 2008), – in terms of relationships between Territoriality, Place, Scale and Network.


Fotos: © Guido D/wikipedia.de Florian Gerlach//commons.wikimedia.org visdia/istockphoto.com


Leading the economy and society out of the carbon age into a climate-friendly future requires more than just a transformation of energy production towards renewable energy sources. As the current debate on a "Green New Deal", for instance, shows, there is a need for a fundamentally new way of productively using human labor, technology and investment capital. Geographical research can show how such transformations take place in space - how they are shaped by existing structures and how new things are created at different scales. Such a research perspective is developed in the new themed issue "New Energy Spaces" in the journal "Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space", which was developed with significant participation from the IRS. First research results, also in part from the IRS, are presented. more info


Gailing, L. (2019). The Spatiality of Germany’s Energy Transition: Spatial Aspects of a Reconfiguration of an Energy System. In E. Gawel, S. Strunz, P. Lehmann, & A. Purkus (Eds.), The European Dimension of Germany’s Energy Transition: Opportunities and Conflicts (pp. 467-476). Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-03374-3_26
Quitzow, L., Canzler, W., Grundmann, P., Leibenath, M., Moss, T., & Rave, T. (2016). The German Energiewende – What's Happening? Introducing the Special Issue. Utilities Policy, 41, 163-171. DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2016.03.002
Röhring, A. (2016). Die Konstituierung dezentraler Handlungsräume erneuerbarer Energien – Chancen und Herausforderungen für die Kreation neuer Entwicklungspfade. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 85(4), 103-113.
Gailing, L. (2017). Die neuen ländlichen Energieräume: Kulturlandschaften der Energiewende. Ländlicher Raum, 68(01), 43-45.
Gailing, L., & Röhring, A. (2016). Is It All about Collaborative Governance? Alternative Ways of Understanding the Success of Energy Regions. Utilities Policy, 41, 237-245. DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2016.02.009
Canzler, W., Gailing, L., Grundmann, P., Schill, W-P., Uhrlandt, D., & Rave, T. (2016). Auf dem Weg zum (de-)zentralen Energiesystem? Ein interdisziplinärer Beitrag zu wesentlichen Debatten. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 85(4), 127-159. DOI: 10.3790/vjh.85.4.127
Schill, W-P., Canzler, W., Gailing, L., Quitzow, L., & Uhrlandt, D. (2016). (De-)zentrale Energiewende – Wirklichkeiten, Widersprüche und Visionen. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 85(4), 15-27. DOI: 10.3790/vjh.85.4.15
Gee, K., & Gailing, L. (Eds.) (2017). The Collaborative “Making” of Energy Landscapes: Virtual Special Issue, Contains Articles from 01 September 2017 to 01 October 2017. (Energy Policy; Vol. Virtual Special Issue).
Schill, W-P., Canzler, W., Gailing, L., Quitzow, L., & Uhrlandt, D. (Eds.) (2016). (De-)zentrale Energiewende – Wirklichkeiten, Widersprüche und Visionen. (Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung; Vol. 85, No. 4).
Gailing, L. (2018). Die räumliche Governance der Energiewende: Eine Systematisierung der relevanten Governance-Formen. In O. Kühne, & F. Weber (Eds.), Bausteine der Energiewende (pp. 75-90). (RaumFragen: Stadt – Region – Landschaft). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. DOI: 10.1007%2F978-3-658-19509-0
Bues, A. (2018). Planning, Protest, and Contentious Politics: The Governance of Wind Energy in Brandenburg and Ontario. disP: The Planning Review, 54(4), 34-45. DOI: 10.1080/02513625.2018.1562796
Gailing, L., Bues, A., Kern, K., & Röhring, A. (2020). Socio-Spatial Dimensions in Energy Transitions: Applying the TPSN Framework to Case Studies in Germany. Environment and Planning A, 52(6), 1112-1130. DOI: 10.1177/0308518X19845142
Röhring, A., & Gailing, L. Energiewende dezentral! Regionale Handlungsräume der Energiewende und des Klimaschutzes
Gailing, L., & Naumann, M. (2019). Effizient und partizipativ? Fokusgruppen am Beispiel der geographischen Energieforschung. Geographische Zeitschrift, 107(2), 107-129. DOI: 10.25162/gz-2019-0006
Gailing, L., & Naumann, M. (2018). Using Focus Groups to Study Energy Transitions: Researching or Producing New Social Realities? Energy Research and Social Science, 45(11), 355-362. DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2018.07.004
Gailing, L. (2019). Barry D. Solomon and Kirby E. Calvert (eds.) 2017: Handbook on the Geographies of Energy. Cheltenham/Northampton: Edward Elgar. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 43(4), 806-807. DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12815
Gailing, L., & Röhring, A. (2019). Energiewende vor Ort. Der Gemeinderat, 62(9), 20-21.
Bues, A. (2020). Social Movements against Wind Power in Canada and Germany: Energy Policy and Contention. (Routledge Studies in Energy Policy). Abingdon: Routledge.
Bridge, G., & Gailing, L. (2020). New Energy Spaces: Towards a Geographical Political Economy of Energy Transition. Environment and Planning A, 52(6), 1037-1050. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X20939570
Bridge, G., & Gailing, L. (2020). New Energy Spaces. (Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, Theme Issue; Vol. 52, No. 6). SAGE.