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Accepted Paper:

Modes of infrastructuring and social innovations in local energy systems  
Catharina Lüder (Technische Universität Berlin) Friederike Rohde (Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung GmbH, gemeinnützig)

Short abstract:

Social innovations in energy are changing how citizens and local actors do energy transformations. To understand the socio-material re-configurations of social innovation processes we look at modes of infrastructuring between social practices and (new) energy infrastructures.

Long abstract:

Significant changes are ongoing to enhance the involvement of citizens and local actors in the German energy transition. At the moment about half of German Federal States are in the process of introducing participation laws at the state level. They aim at better engaging citizens in energy projects hoping to foster acceptance and speed-up the transition envisioned by the political decision makers (in federal and state governments). However, what this development also entails are emerging new multi-actor constellations between citizens and energy companies.

From the perspective of social innovations in the energy sector (SIE) we look at how such constellations manifest in specific local settings. Based on an understanding of SIE as new ways of organising, thinking and acting on energy systems (Wittmayer et al. 2022), we discuss how an intensified socio-material relationship is one central point in grasping the pivotal levers for building up decentralised, renewable energy infrastructures in local settings. To do this, we draw on the STS concept of infrastructuring to understand socio-material relations in the context of local energy transitions. Infrastructuring relies on a relational approach to question the ongoing co-constitution of materialities and practices combined with social norms, ways of knowing, standards and other contexts (Star/Ruhleder 1996, Star 1999, Edwards 2003, 2010, Blok et al. 2016).

Based on two case studies in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, we analyse different modes of infrastructuring local energy practices used by the social innovation actors studied.

Traditional Open Panel P103
Mobilizing regions for innovation
  Session 1 Friday 19 July, 2024, -