Mapping the Ecologies of the Energy Transition Debate in the Dutch Digital Public Space


New media provide a space of interaction for a wide range of actors with stakes in the energy transition, including governments, environmental organizations, media outlets and corporations (Boykoff, 2011; Schäfer & Schlichting, 2014). The interactions between these actors have facilitated the emergence of mediated communication networks (Castells, 2009) which shape the public’s understanding of energy issues. Despite the importance of these mediated communication networks to the formation of public’s opinion about the energy transition, few researchers have studied the topology of these networks (Ackland & O’Neil, 2011; Stoddart, Tindall, Smith & Haluza-Delay, 2017) and even fewer have studied the interaction patterns between the actors of these networks (Fischer, Angst & Maag, 2017; Haeussler, 2018). This project aims to fill this lacuna by mapping the ecologies of the energy transition debate occurring in the Dutch digital public space. It will develop an empirical understanding of the forces of the Dutch energy transition debate and of their network evolution processes. For 12 months we will collect hyperlink networks (Rogers, 2013) that have Dutch civil society and the media in the area of energy transition as their seeds. We will assess the authorities of these networks using Kleinberg’s authority measure (Kleinberg, 1999) and trace the dynamics that affect the network evolution processes using temporal exponential random graph models -TERGMs- (Hunter, Handcock, Butts, Goodreau & Morris, 2008). The ultimate goal of the project is to better understand how new media affect citizens’ opinion formation on energy transition issues.


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. M.E.V. Esteve-Del Valle

Affiliated with

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit der Letteren, Research Centre for Media and Journalism Studies


23/01/2019 to 31/12/2019