It is a challenge to achieve a transition towards sustainable energy systems that minimize risks, disasters, and conflicts in the energy sector. Elements of an integrated framework for comparative assessment and decision-making on energy systems are introduced, taking into account technical potentials, market and network structures, actors, and evaluation criteria. Focal points are vulnerabilities of energy grids and transportation systems, the reduction of climate risks, and the establishment of a distributed renewable energy network, with bioenergy as a case study.
Jürgen Scheffran is a senior research scientist with the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security (ACDIS) and the Information Trust Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has adjunct faculty positions at the Departments of Political Science and Atmospheric Sciences. After his physics PhD at the University of Marburg in Germany, he worked as a researcher and assistant professor in the interdisciplinary research group IANUS and the mathematics department at the Technical University of Darmstadt. Following a research project at Hamburg University, he joined the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in 2001, and in 2003 he was Visiting Professor at the University of Paris (Pantheon/Sorbonne). Research and teaching interests include energy, environment, and climate change; complex systems analysis and computer modeling; and technology assessment and international security. He is leading a project and is organizing an international symposium on renewable energy at UIUC (April 26/27, 2007). Email: scheffra at uiuc.edu, web: www.renewable-energy.uiuc.edu.