The rhetorical fantasy of energy transitions: implications for energy policy and analysis

Sovacool, Benjamin K and Brossmann, Brent (2014) The rhetorical fantasy of energy transitions: implications for energy policy and analysis. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 26 (7). pp. 837-854. ISSN 0953-7325

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Abstract

This article explores the rhetoric of four energy transitions. It begins by summarising research on the intersection of fantasy, technology and the sociology of expectation. It then looks at how ideas of progress, modernity, cheapness, abundance and hope influence the way society perceives new energy technologies, causing them to overestimate benefits and underestimate challenges. Our rhetorical analysis finds in case studies of steam engines, gasoline automobiles, hydroelectric dams and nuclear reactors that newly ‘discovered’ sources of energy or newly invented technologies are always assumed to provide infinitely abundant energy and to have the potential to create positive utopian changes in society. We conclude by noting the salient implications of these rhetorical themes for energy planners, analysts and scholars.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Benjamin Sovacool
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2016 11:52
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 10:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/58396
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