Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: Energy (page 1 of 15)

Noticing matters – new energy paper in ER&SS

Very glad, after a long gestation, to be able to share a new paper out in Energy Research & Social Science today, Does noticing energy infrastructure influence public support for energy development? Evidence from a national survey in Canada. This paper uses a large national sample of Canadians (n=3000) surveyed back in 2014 to explore the impacts of exposure to energy infrastructure on support for that and other technologies. It suggests that reporting noticing ANY energy infrastructure, even just transmission lines, is reliably associated with support for renewables. Does this mean we should stop trying to hide energy infrastructure? Maybe that is too rash: we don’t know the direction of causality in that relationship. But it seems not a giant conceptual leap to suggest that if we are regularly confronted with the means of our energy production we might be moved to conserve energy or limit the impacts of its supply via technology shifts.

Yan Chen in Singapore

Yan Chen at NSF-funded workshop in Singapore, January 28-29, 2019.

Yan Chen presenting her IDPhD work at NSF-funded workshop in Singapore, January 28-29, 2019.

Yan Chen is wrapping up a few days in Singapore for the NSF-funded Research Coordination Network (RCN) in Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) on Putting Sustainability into Convergence: Connecting Data, People, and Systems. This international workshop has been diverse in attendees and disciplines. Yan reflected, “The most discussed question is how people from different disciplines can collaborate. There are many scholars like me, as social scientists who are using sophisticated data analysis models; while others are engineers working on social issues. We both, at a certain degree, struggle in ‘cultural shocks’ between different disciplines.” It’s been a great opportunity for her to workshop with similarly cross-cutting folks. She described her session as discussing, “data sources, sizes, validity, sharing, proxies, and so on. …. [agreeing] that data or method cannot develop only on the technologies, but has to answer certain questions. For social scientists, finding a good mechanism of data sharing or archiving may be very useful. Also, how to cope with the rapidly developing technologies will be another challenge for us.” Thanks to SSHRC for supporting Yan’s trip, via Mike Smit’s Insight Grant, on which I’m a CI, Assessing the social impacts of hydroelectricity-driven landscape changing using text, images and archives: a Big Data approach.

6-month job in bibliometrics and/or statistics

I am offering a 6-month non-student position in my lab (Jan-June 2019), co-funded by Mitacs‘ Career Connect program, for quantitative analysis support across a few SSHRC projects (e.g. sustainable agriculture, renewable energy). Required skills include bibliometrics and/or social science statistical methods. A short description is  here, and a fuller one is on the Mitacs site. Viable applicants should be under 30, have relevant Masters qualifications (Library/Information Science, Statistics, Information Technology, Computer Science, Quantitative Social Science, Social/Environmental Psychology, etc), and be a Canadian citizen, PR or refugee. Please help me spread the word.

Seeing is believing for solar

Energy Transitions collaborator and friend Dr. John Parkins has been in the news this week, talking about recent results published in Energy Policy about residential solar technology adoption in Canada. In the U of A news feed, Folio, John is quoted: “If you are immersed in an environment where these technologies are all around you, they become more familiar and doable”. This shows how important landscape norms are to our shared and individual sense of what is possible and desirable. He goes on to advocate more numerous and prominent installations of solar infrastructure in public buildings, to expedite the creation of norms that facilitate a transition to renewable energies like solar. View the great Global News interview with John here.

Governing Shale Gas: new book

Matt Dairon, John Parkins and I now have a chapter out on Matt’s Masters work at U of A in Governing Shale Gas: Development, Citizen Participation, and Decision Making in the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Our chapter is near the back, chapter 17 of 18: Seeking common ground in contested energy technology landscapes: Insights from a Q Methodology study.  While the book is about shale gas, this case study uses the same concourse as another recent paper, but in sites of shale and wind farm development in southwestern Alberta, and with interviews to bring nuance.

Edited by John Whitton, Matthew Cotton, Ioan M. Charnley-Parry, and Kathy Brasier, this book:

“… attempts to bring together critical themes inherent in the energy governance literature and illustrate them through cases in multiple countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, South Africa, Germany and Poland. These themes include how multiple actors and institutions – industry, governments and regulatory bodies at all scales, communities, opposition movements, and individual landowners – have roles in developing, contesting, monitoring, and enforcing practices and regulations within unconventional oil and gas development. Overall, the book proposes a systemic, participatory, community-led approach required to achieve a form of legitimacy that allows communities to derive social priorities by a process of community visioning. This book will be of great relevance to scholars and policy-makers with an interest in shale gas development, and energy policy and governance.”

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