CFP: Digitisation and low-carbon energy transitions, Energy Anthropology Network workshop, 23-24 August 2021

As the world faces the challenge to transition to low-carbon energy futures, digitisation becomes a key issue: decarbonising energy requires the digital process control of energy production, transmission and end use. Diversified electrification across sectors requires real-time digital coordination of distributed energy production, with increasing numbers and types of power plants and enhanced spatial-temporal complexity. To manage energy demand and raise energy efficiency, digital devices can help recursively modulate energy and societal rhythms to facilitate rapid decarbonisation of complex, intertwined systems. At the same time, a low-carbon energy transition that requires electrification and digitisation is accompanied by the risk of significant increases in energy demand, perhaps only partly compensated through energy efficiency gains.

Might the digitisation of renewable energy backfire on envisioned energy transitions? Who digitises energy infrastructure, and what drives decision-making? How does this impact the justice effects of low-carbon energy transitions? In what ways does digitisation intertwine with changes in the lived experience of human interactions with evolving energy systems? What do we gain and lose as we move from fossil fuel dominated infrastructures to hybrid digitised ones, from coal mining to data mining?

This workshop problematizes the emergent inter-linkages of digitisation and energy. We invite engaged energy anthropologists and other interdisciplinary counterparts from geography, science and technology studies and political ecology into a critically constructive forum to discuss digitisation in low-carbon energy transitions.

Please submit a 300-500 word abstract to Katja Müller (katja.mueller@zirs.uni-halle.de) and Siddharth Sareen (siddharth.sareen@uis.no) by 15 December 2020. Include your institutional affiliation and whether you would like to participate remotely or in person – both options will be possible. The Energy Anthropology Network is pleased to hold this workshop at the University of Stavanger during 23-24 August 2021, before the Petrocultures 2021 conference scheduled for 25-27 August 2021 at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum.

Keynote speakers:

23rd August: Digital Energy Futures – Sarah Pink and Yolande Strengers, Monash University

24th August: Mobility justice and transitions to urban electric vehicles – Thomas Birtchnell, Theresa Harada and Gordon Waitt, University of Wollongong


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