Flow• Introducing socio-technical imaginaries and new materialisms• Pilot Study• Four cases• Implications and future work
Introducing the Problem• How do myths and narratives become embedded within the fabric of national identity, scholastic disciplines, the policy realm, economic practices, and everyday life with regards to energy?• Electric utilities are key institutional actors in both facilitating and constraining our global energy transition.• Analyzing the mechanisms by which energy utilities engage with and convey information to the public is crucial to understanding this process.
Renewable Energy in Arizona• 15% Renewable electricity by 2025• Typically met through large scale solar• Distributed carve out
Pilot StudyConducted with one regulated electric utility in Arizonaover 4 months• Primary materials: To understand the cultural artifacts currently in circulation. 10 Webpages, 4 newsletters, 2 billboards, 1 comic book and 1 museum exhibit with 2 related articles.• Interviews: To understand the process of representation making and utility employee visions
Research Inquiries• What processes do utility companies go through when marketing renewable energy programs to the public?• What is the content in the message and how does the delivery system of these materials impact the message?• How do publics understand and contribute to such processes and products?• How do collective understandings influence policy feedback loops?
Sociotechnical Imaginaries• mechanisms and institutions which allow ideas to emerge and circulate• the mixing up of meanings as they are taken up in society• performative• an ongoing processMateriality• The ability of things to make impacts outside of human manipulation or meaning.• Yet also the combination of these things within the complex assemblages that constitute everyday life
So What?• Electric utilities are one of the ways in which publics come to learn about renewable energy• The fleeting nature of these materials does not necessarily force thought unless there is a recurring disruption within a routinized everyday experience.• Presented as a choice, not an inevitability or a necessity.
Implications• Contributes to the public understanding of science, by privileging alternative ways of knowing such as the affective and the imaginative.• Strives to comprehend the performativity wrapped up in energy transitions and the complex assemblages of energy users, media, utility companies, nature, regulatory bodies, idealized cultures, and socio-technical systems.• Examines the links between policymaking, electric utilities, and publics.
Future Work• Shifting my gaze to Italian community renewable energy projects• What are the ways in which citizens and electric utility companies interact with each other to create community projects and in doing so adopt, reconfigure, and reject dominant discourses, while contributing to a broader social understanding of renewable energy?