The role of timing in the success of energy saving programmes

April 3, 2009

Timing is an activity that brings together multiple elements at a particular point in time. In the context of energy saving programmes, timing includes processes and strategies whereby the programme interacts with changes in its context. This paper presents examples of the impact of timing, and suggests a framework for conceptualising the role of timing in managing energy systems change.

Some practitioners might argue that timing is an issue of “luck” and that it cannot be influenced. Our case studies, however, show some ways in which programme managers can deal improve their timing:

  1. Making a careful analysis of the history of the context into which they are introducing their programme. Are there problematic experiences that have led to distrust of certain solutions? Are there positive experiences or competencies that can benefit the programme?
  2. Examining the potential links of their programme to ongoing changes in the operating environment, such as synergetic or competing programmes and developments.
  3. Articulating future expectations, especially when they are crucial to the logic of the programme (e.g. rising energy prices), and creating forums for aligning the expectations of different stakeholders.
  4. Anticipating future changes by keeping the programme design flexible; for example by designing a programme that can be scaled up or down depending on changing conditions.

Full paper: Rask, M., Heiskanen, E., Mourik, R. M. & Feenstra, Feenstra, C.F.J. (2008). The role of timing in the success of energy saving programmes. Paper presented at the Sustainable Consumption Conference, Corvinus University, Budapest, October 8, 2008.

Conference Paper: The role of timing in the success of energy saving programmes