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Explored: Social Innovation in Energy Transitions
SONNET Webinar Series

What activities “count” as social innovations in energy transitions? How do they work? What roles do public institutions play in such initiatives? How can small-scale energy projects compete with big players in the energy sector?

The SONNET webinar series explores these and many more questions. The series engages researchers, local governments, sister projects, leaders of social innovation initiatives, and more.

All interested persons are warmly welcome to join the discussions!

Upcoming Seminar

12 May 2021, 14:30–16:00
Bringing energy sufficiency from local projects to a global driver: spotlight on Grenoble

Through its SONNET City Lab, Grenoble is taking forward the concept of energy sufficiency (sometimes known as ‘energy sobriety’), with a focus on its municipal buildings. Energy sufficiency is the idea of reducing or altogether avoiding energy consumption. For example, energy sufficiency would encourage us not only to switch to consuming more environmentally-friendly goods (such as more energy efficient vehicles), but also to rethink whether we even need to consume those goods at all. It encourages all people to consume only what is needed.

The Grenoble SONNET City Lab team is taking decisive, closely monitored, and specific action to create environments in which behavioural shifts towards energy sufficiency are both attractive and attainable. It is, in many ways, not surprising that this work is being conducted in the context of a City Lab; in fact, most work on energy sufficiency is highly localised and experimental.

What is stopping this concept from being taken up by policy makers? Why isn’t an energy sufficiency approach driving environmental policies? How can it be scaled-up, and what is currently missing to make that happen?

All interested individuals are warmly welcome to join a webinar on 12 May from 14:30–16:00 CEST (register here!), which will explore these key questions by engaging speakers at three levels: the City Lab, municipal, and national levels.

We will close with a moderated discussion. Questions and inputs from the moderator and the audience will explore how energy sufficiency may be applicable in other European contexts.

Click here to register!

Past Seminars

20 January 2021
Online Seminar 4: Encouraging social innovation in energy transitions via collaborative governance: a fishbowl discussion

For its fourth webinar, the SONNET project switched things up. Instead of a traditional event, the project invited all to join a ‘fishbowl discussion’ to explore ‘collaborative governance arrangements’: what that means, and how cities can use collaborative governance to support social innovations in energy.

Speakers included:

  • Marta Strumińska-Kutra, Kozminski University
  • Fabien Dupré, Grenoble (France)
  • Marcin Grądzki, Warsaw (Poland)
  • Matt Jones, Bristol (UK)
  • Nicole Schwarz, Basel (Switzerland)
  • Sabrina Hoffman, Mannheim (Germany)
  • Jakob Kramer, UrbanA project

The webinar was moderated by Adrienne Kotler, ICLEI Europe.

This discussion built on a recent SONNET publication on the same topic. Read it here.

15 September 2020
Online Seminar 3: Fighting for Local Power: how a UK Bill seeks to support local energy producers

The SONNET project organised its third online seminar, this time on campaigning for local renewable energy, exploring the example of the “Local Electricity Bill” in the UK.

Community-scale renewable energy has great potential to help decarbonise local economies, while benefiting local communities. Unfortunately, this potential is too often blocked by high supply costs and a lack of opportunities to sell generated energy directly to local people, which aims at enabling local energy producers to directly sell their energy and thus create a market for decentralised renewable energy systems. The discussion included also a Swiss perspective, as Switzerland is far ahead when it comes to supporting local renewable energy.


The seminar was facilitated by Olga Krajewska, Governance and Social Innovation Junior Officer, ICLEI Europe.

8 June 2020
Online Seminar 2: Social Innovation and the Energiewende – Lessons and Outlooks from Germany

The SONNET project organised its second online seminar, this time exploring the role of social innovation in the energy transition through the example of the German Energiewende.

Meaningful energy transition requires technical effort, as well as social and institutional change. Where does Germany currently stand with its energy transition? How are social innovations part of this transformation process? During this seminar we discussed what stakeholders from across Europe can learn by reflecting on Germany’s experience with its Energiewende.


The seminar was facilitated by Niklas Mischkowski, Governance and Social Innovation Officer, ICLEI Europe.

31 March 2020
Online Seminar 1: (Almost) Everything you need to know about the “What, Who and How”

The SONNET project kicked-off its first online seminar by exploring (Almost) Everything you need to know about the “What, Who and How”

This seminar opened a discussion on Social Innovation in Energy (SIE) in Europe today, and explored the diversity of SIE already being deployed. Speakers shared their practical experiences from both research and a local government perspectives.


The seminar was facilitated by Niklas Mischkowski, Governance and Social Innovation Officer, ICLEI Europe.

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