Visions of domestic electricity use in a changing sociotechnical system
AbstractThe domestic sector accounts for approximately one third of the UK’s energy demand. As such there is scope for significant change in domestic electricity demand to facilitate the transition towards a more sustainable electricity system. This thesis uses qualitative focus groups and interviews with public and expert participants to investigate how and why electricity is used in the home, and to unpick the assumptions within visions of possible future change to the electricity system. Public and expert interviewee suggestions for changes to increase the flexibility of domestic demand (a key aspect of enabling increased penetration of renewable generation technologies) were rooted in ecological modernisation, where technological solutions such as home automation were advocated as the most appropriate mechanisms for achieving change. Additionally, experts posited that information provision about the need for change to the wider electricity system, and thus ways in which people use electricity in the home, would ‘educate’ the public and result in acceptance and change. Solutions adopting assumptions of economic-rationality were also identified in public and expert discourse, where financial mechanisms were suggested to have the ability to influence behaviour. However, contradictory evidence suggested that financial mechanisms will not provide sufficient incentives for change, as people instead are influenced more directly by the desire to fulfil immediate needs.
Hubble, Sam <http://orca.cf.ac.uk/view/cardiffauthors/A116117B.html> 2015. Visions of domestic electricity use in a changing sociotechnical system. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University. Item availability restricted. file </89970/1/2016HubbleSphd.pdf>file </89970/2/Hubble%20S.pdf>