Title: What Smart Grids tell about innovation narratives in the European Union: hopes, imaginaries and policy
Citation: Energy Research & Social Science vol. 12 p. 16-26
Publisher: Elsevier Limited
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC92444
ISSN: 2214-6296
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629615300803
DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2015.11.011
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Techno-scientific imaginaries implicitly frame policy agendas that protect and motivate new technologies. In this paper we focus on how smart grids (SG) are portrayed in European policies and through social actors’ discourses, as well as, what their significance for citizens is claimed to be. Drawn upon the concept of socio-technical imaginaries we explore the discourses of social actors regarding the implementation of SG in the European Union, from policy makers, industry and consumer perspectives. In order to do so, we use knowledge assessment, a qualitative approach that looks into the pedigree of the knowledge input in policy processes and its quality in terms of fitness for purpose and function. Through the analysis of EU policy documents related to SG and interviews conducted with relevant social actors, we looked at the official visions about SG coming from the policy sphere, the main supporters of the SG vision and proposal. We looked into discourses, factual or imaginary argumentation and justifications, promises, motivations, appeals to the public and other narrative elements that scaffold the SG vision in Europe. We conclude that the SG proposal is aligned with current innovation narratives in the EU but presents some disconnects with citizen debates.
JRC Directorate:Joint Research Centre Corporate Activities

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