Transition through smart grid pilot projects: environment, politics, and technology
Smart grids are stressed by many actors as key factors in the transition to a sustainable society. In my research I examine how Swedish smart grid pilot projects are mobilized as sustainability interventions, and their implications for the transition to a sustainable energy system and society.
In my dissertation I follow a few smart grid pilot projects through different contexts, through analysis of e.g. national policy documents as well as interviews with different actors, to trace their implications for the sustainability transition. This research entails no ambition of evaluation; the approach is rather explorative in the sense that I am interested in which meanings different actors ascribe to the smart grid pilot projects, and how they view the role of the projects in the sustainability transition. In general terms this amounts to an approach grounded in contemporary history, since the development of and policy formation around smart grids are currently unfolding. Among other things I am interested in the images of the future that are conveyed through the pilot projects, and which aspects of the broad concept of sustainability that are allowed space in the politics of smart grids.
I am inspired by many different fields of research, but mainly by environmental humanities focused on energy (energy humanities), political ecology, infrastructure studies, and discourse analysis.
My dissertation is part of the research project “New networks of power”, in which two PhD students from Chalmers also participate. There is a continuous, interdisciplinary exchange of ideas in the project group, which contributes to our respective parts of the research project.