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Individual Paper: Citizen energy initiatives: a new socio-technical imaginary?

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Energy systems play a significant role in the current environmental crisis. In Switzerland, two thirds of the ecological footprint are due to energy consumption which still depends at 80% on fossil fuels. In view of the urgency to change our modes of both energy production and consumption, citizen initiatives are emerging in several countries like in Germany, Denmark, France and Switzerland. They promote a democratic and decentralized production system relying on indigenous renewable energies while moving away from the sole objective of profit maximization. More often than not, they question our individual and collective energy needs, and encourage energy sobriety. The sense of their volunteer involvement goes far beyond ‘simply’ contributing to increasing the amount of green kWh injected into the grid. Interestingly, our study led in the French-speaking part of Switzerland reveals that a wide range of motivations lay behind the engagement of these citizens: environmental, personal, political, social, infrastructural and, lastly, economic.

Energy and techniques by extension are but a mirror of the society that uses them as well as its world’s representations. From this perspective, we might consider citizen energy initiatives not only as a technical project, but, and most importantly, as a societal project. They might offer a part of the solution towards a more ethical energy system based on values such as: solidarity, cooperation, democracy, ecology, non-violence and freedom. Citizen energy initiatives contribute to the socio-environmental transition by embedding a new coherent socio-technical imaginary. Thereby, taking them into account when imagining the path of the energy transition seems fundamental.

Info

Day: 2018-08-22
Start time: 14:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: Nöjesteatern (Piano bar)
Track: Subjectivities, Values, Ideas and Satisfactions

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