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Time for energy social science! Governing multi-scalar energy transitions across sectors
November 16, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Energy transitions are underway everywhere simultaneously, or so one wants to think. They are in fact resisted vigorously, reshaped surreptitiously, and stripped of meaning altogether upon closer examination in unfortunately many circumstances. The urgent need for rapid action imbues large powerful actors with deep pockets with greater ability to wrest control of processes labelled energy transitions, while more inclusive, democratic, locally situated approaches cause barely an occasional flutter if measured in capital investments and gigawatt hours of clean energy production and fossil fuel displacement. Governments in progressive countries incentivise dodgy investments in techno-solutionism by fossil incumbents more willingly than investing in competitive, existing renewable energy sources. The present is frustrating, the future is bleak, unless scholars find novel ways to fix things. A promising focus for actionable knowledge is on sectoral coupling, or the twin transition of digitalisation and decarbonisation where society electrifies everything and accelerates clean energy sources for electricity production. Twin transitions integrate energy systems away from separately governed sectors like transport and manufacturing, and towards connected systems characterised by energy flexibility and dynamic practices of intersectoral exchange. Tackled head-on, application of ‘just transition’ principles to twin transitions can build equity, justice and inclusion into how future energy systems are governed at multiple scales. This invited talk explores the nature of such energy governance research, identifies core principles and concepts at its heart, and argues for cross-sectoral, multi-scalar energy social science. In the face of societal crisis, it calls for climate researchers to engage with energy social science.
About the lecturer
Siddharth Sareen is Professor in Energy and Environment at the Department of Media and Social Sciences, University of Stavanger, and Professor II at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation, University of Bergen. He coordinates the Sustainability Transformation programme area at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Stavanger, with a portfolio of research projects worth over €12 million. His research focuses on the governance of energy transitions at multiple scales, in diverse contexts, and within and across a range of sectors, such as resource extraction, electricity generation, distribution and end-use, and urban transport. He teaches on a Master programme in Energy, Environment and Society, and is a board member of the Young Academy of Norway and the Empowered Futures Research School.
Sede Building (Room Aketxe), Scientific Park of the University of the Basque Country, November 16 (2023), 11:00am-12:00pm CET
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