Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Breffní Lennon and Niall Dunphy
50th Conference of Irish Geographers
Energy Consumer to Energy Citizen: reflections on citizens’ lived experiences as they intersect the energy transition
Maynooth University
Invited Lectures (Conference)
Optional Fields
This paper situates itself within research identifying sustainable energy transition frameworks that best facilitate the technology shift needed to realise a low-carbon society. How local people continually (re)negotiate the many power dynamics, integral to engaging in the energy system, is represented using the perspectives of people living in six very different communities across Europe. The people in these communities face corresponding, and indeed some quite different, challenges as they proceed with their energy-transition pathways in keeping with wider societal shifts. While efforts to meet the challenges posed by the sustainable energy transition have been mixed, in part due to an emphasis on top-down technocratic solutions, efforts have been made to incorporate notions of citizenship into official discourses. This paper critiques those efforts and shifts the focus back to the human dimension of the energy transition. It examines local peoples’ perspectives as they continually renegotiate the many (and sometimes hidden) competing spaces of social and economic power that exist at each level of the energy transition. Local people are often portrayed as being passive in this transition when, in fact, the reality can be quite the opposite. People tend to occupy fluid, (re)active, participatory spaces depending on a myriad of interlinked lifestyle choices and economic barriers that can influence the success or failure of (supra)national policy. This paper will present key findings from research conducted as part of ENTRUST, an interdisciplinary H2020 research project exploring the human factor in the energy system.