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Accepted Paper:

The technopolitics of the energy transition in Taiwan: The case of power shortage  
Chihyuan Yang (National Chengchi University)

Paper short abstract:

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, an outcry breaks in Taiwanese society demanding a sustainable energy transition. However it is deeply trapped by the question: can renewable energy satisfy the nation's need? This article explores the technopolitics of the 'perennial' power shortage in Taiwan.

Paper long abstract:

After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, an outcry breaks in Taiwanese society demanding a sustainable energy transition. High modernism, as a dominant sociotechnical imagination in the post-war Taiwan, manifests itself in the questions of what a better society should be, how we make technical choices to achieve that goal and, regarding the constitution of energy, what the most pragmatist and viable approach is to make the particularly dreamed future come to reality.

This article explores the string of the closure of alternative energy future brought by the high modernist rationality. It looks into the feature of the high modernist argument in the nationalist-pragmatist storyline shared by the governmental actors, which designates a strategy of emphasizing shortage at present and prosperity in the futureļ¼if current shortage is solved in a feasible way. Focusing on the energy contention that happened from 2011 to 2015, it provides an analysis of discursive strategies which exemplifies how power shortage is presented in the mass media and of how the claimed crisis jumps to the centre of public debates via the institutional practices of power rationing. Renewable energy is continually seen as an 'immature' source and 'not viable' when it comes to satisfying the nation's need. This is built on the routinized practices in the calculation of reserve margin in electricity planning and the public witness of operating reserve in the public communication scheme, both of which come with their assumption and political implication and, therefore, need to be put under scrutiny.

Panel T046
New Technologies, social practices and social conflict - sustainable energy transitions as a field of contention
  Session 1 Saturday 3 September, 2016, -