Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Breffni Lennon; Niall Dunphy
Experience, Dialogue and Negotiation: Identifying Sustainable Energy Transition Pathways
Athlone, Ireland
Invited Lectures (Conference)
Optional Fields
This paper is informed by research that positions itself within current sustainable energy transition frameworks, the debates that inform these frameworks and moves towards a low-carbon, socio-economic system. Recognising that people lie at the heart of this transition, this paper explores some of the responses local people have had to current efforts to realise it and presents perspectives from two quite different communities. One is located in a predominantly rural area in Ireland, whereas the other live in an urban neighbourhood in France. Both communities face considerable challenges as they embark on their energy-transition pathways, given the varying levels of success so far in meeting the challenges posed from finding a sustainable energy transition. The emphasis on top-down technocratic solutions has not worked and this paper shifts the focus back to the human dimension of the energy transition, examining how individuals negotiate their way through the many (and sometimes hidden) competing landscapes of social and economic power that exist at the local level. People have usually been portrayed as either ‘passive’ or ‘active’ consumers in this transition, but as this paper suggests the reality can quite often be very different with local people occupying (re)active, participatory spaces that can ultimately influence the success or failure of a given (supra)national policy. Some in the literature suggest that people’s attitudes and identities are informed by ideas of place attachment, which in turn determine the intensity of place-protective actions to a perceived threat. Here, we suggest that there is no reason why these narratives cannot also be informed by the opportunities presented by the ever-greater enmeshments of place and mobility in contemporary societies across the European Union. This paper will present the findings to date from research conducted as part of ENTRUST, an interdisciplinary H2020 research project exploring the human factor in the energy system