Energy system optimisation and smart technologies - a social sciences and humanities annotated bibliography

Sumpf, Patrick and Klemm, Mira and Throndsen, William and Büscher, Christian and Robison, Rosalyn A. V. and Schippl, Jens and Foulds, Chris and Buchmann, Katrin and Nikolaev, Angel and Kern-Gillard, Thomas (2017) Energy system optimisation and smart technologies - a social sciences and humanities annotated bibliography. Other. SHAPE ENERGY, Cambridge.

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The challenge: * Systems perspectives on energy involve a holistic view on balancing demand and supply; system optimisation can support security of supply, affordability, sustainability and profitability. * A central, and relatively recent, element of system optimisation is the move towards smart grids, and smart technologies, which concern interconnection of system elements usually through the internet. As well as increasing the resilience of the network, it is hoped this will help “citizens take ownership of the energy transition [and] benefit from new technologies”. * ‘Smartification’ of the energy system introduces a range of new societal conditions and consequences. The aim: * European energy policy has so far mainly relied on research from Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Energy-related Social Sciences and Humanities (energy-SSH) have been significantly underrepresented. The aim of this bibliography is to give policymakers a selected yet broad impression of the SSH research community focusing on ‘energy system optimisation and smart technologies’. Wherever possible, policy deductions or research and innovation recommendations are mentioned. Coverage: * Disciplines covered in this bibliography are broadly representative of the current SSH research community in the area, with a slight bias towards Economics, Sociology and Science & Technology Studies. Nevertheless, robust accounts from Psychology, Politics, Ethnography, Development, Environmental Social Science, Geography, Planning, Law, History and other fields are also included. * Geographically, research presented is primarily from Western and Northern Europe, but with diversity across these regions, and inclusion of some Eastern European and non-European contributions. * Techno-economic accounts are very highly represented in the field of energy system optimisation and smart technologies, a fact highlighted by researchers themselves. Much of this research concentrates on financial cost/benefit of smart grid and technical design, while approaches focusing on social practices or user-centric design are increasing but still underrepresented. The latter were deliberately given higher visibility in this bibliography. Key findings: * Numerous papers presented here focus on how questions of smart technology diffusion, innovation, and adoption might be shifted away from monetary incentives or cost/benefit analyses of technologies. * A unifying message across many topics and disciplines - from energy justice or socio-technical scenarios, to Economics or Ethnography - is that co-operation between techno-economic and SSH approaches needs more attention and is crucial for successful smart grid realisation. * Another important debate for SSH researchers is the deconstruction of overly optimistic visions of smart societies. Many authors urge caution in considering the (financial and social) costs and benefits of smart technologies for all of society, including issues of privacy intrusion. There are calls for more research on both policy initiatives, preferably targeting the community level, and clear communication strategies which fully consider these aspects.

Item Type: Research Report or Working Paper (Other)
Keywords: energy system optimisation, smart technologies, SHAPE ENERGY
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2017 15:19
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:58

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