Economic Geography, Regional Development and Planning
PhD project

Energy transition towards a low-carbon society: Perspectives and approaches to energy transition on different scales of Smart Grids

PhD Candidate Ingrid Foss Ballo.

Ingrid Foss Ballo
PhD Candidate Ingrid Foss Ballo
Grethe Meling

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Since there is a close connection between the challenge of climate change and the world’s energy consumption, energy transition is central to getting closer to a low-carbon society. This PhD dissertation will contribute to an improved understanding of different perspectives and approaches to energy transition.

In this PhD dissertation, I will study different approaches to energy transition on different scales; both “bottom-up” approaches initiated at the individual level, and “top-down” approaches initiated by technological and/or knowledge elites. This will also enable an analysis of the interaction and interplay between these different scales. Discourses of technological and knowledge elites conceptualize and describe challenges and possible solutions in regards to energy transition. This also entails a “top-down” conceptualization and description of the individual. However, such “top-down” descriptions do not always correspond to innovative practices which can develop “bottom-up”.

This PhD dissertation will use “Smart Grids” as a suitable case for studying discourses, approaches, perspectives or practices related to energy transition at different scales, as well as the interaction and interplay between different scales. The Smart Grid can be studied as a future vision from elite discourses about a transition to “smarter” production, distribution and consumption of electricity. However, the Smart Grid also consists of a range of different components and technologies, such as electrical vehicles or decentralized energy production. These components can be studied separately with a “bottom-up” perspective.

The dissertation also has a cross-disciplinary dimension, applying theoretical perspectives from the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in addition to theoretical perspectives from Environmental Geography.