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Many countries are considering the deployment of renewable energy technologies in marine or coastal locations to mitigate climate change. Here, we consider ways that senses of place have implications for the deployment of offshore wind, tide and wave energy projects. We use in-depth interviews with auto-photography to explore multiple senses of places in an island context with the aim of gauging public views about the acceptability of potential deployment of wind, tidal and wave energy technologies. The study captured many instances where senses of place were invoked to construct arguments around the fit (or lack of) between place and technology, with place used flexibly to refer to specific marine or coastal locations, the island itself and its relation to other places. Auto-photography revealed the diversity of ways in which the land and the sea were meaningful to islanders – as a place for social relations, a place for fun and sport, a place for escape and a place for aesthetic beauty. By combining visual and verbal data to reveal multiple senses and scales of place, the study provides a rich foundation for understanding the acceptability of renewable energy projects.
We opened this volume with sobering stories of the dire global challenges before us. Indeed, one would not be hard pressed to find stories of the urgency of our various environmental and social crises. While we wrote this book, the COVID-19 pandemic raged, towns in the Arctic reached unprecedented temperatures, countless hectares of forests fell while fossil fuels continued to be violently extracted from the earth, and Black, Indigenous and people of colour continued to be exploited and oppressed. Yet, despite all this, or rather because of it, we wish to begin our conclusion with hope and determination. Drawing on Solnit (2016), we believe that there is a spaciousness in the uncertainties posed by the challenges before us in that they offer new possibilities for being, thinking and acting – for renewal and purposeful redirection in our trajectory – and it is through a reawakened awareness of our rich and dynamic relationships to place that we can find a better way forward.
Demand response in domestic contexts may be differentiated into two modes of provision. First, ‘automatic’ load control involves the direct intervention by utilities to manipulate the performance of domestic appliances using heat or power, without the immediate involvement of domestic end-users. This is sometimes referred to as ‘dynamic demand’. For example, in the UK a trial was initiated in December 2009 by a consortium including a fridge manufacturer (Indesit), an energy utility (Npower) and a technology company (RLtec). Three hundred end-users were supplied with ‘dynamic demand fridges and fridge freezers’, free of charge and the trial involved the monitoring of each device as well as the switching off of appliances for short durations in response to grid conditions.
A second form of demand response can be described as more ‘intentional’ load control. This involves the direct intervention by domestic end-users themselves, rather than utilities, that would retain total control over the working of domestic appliances and would choose to modify behavioural patterns of energy consumption in response to some form of signal from a utility. This signal is most likely to be a price signal but is not necessarily so – it could involve communicating the availability of energy generated from different kinds of resource (e.g. fossil fuel or renewable) (Devine-Wright, 2003). The signal is most likely to be communicated via a smart metering device, but could alternatively involve a ‘traffic light’ device that signals the availability of energy via colour-coded signals, or a communication to other forms of ICT via text messages or emails (e.g. mobile phones).
The scale of future energy systems in the UK will have a significant impact on the evolution of the built environment. Yet, the scale at which energy systems emerge is closely connected with social and economic values and behaviours and the nature of governance at local and national levels. Today's centralized energy system has a particular relationship with the built environment through the way people understand and use energy services. Electricity is centrally generated in remote power plants; the majority of heating systems are fuelled by gas which is centrally distributed; and petrol for vehicles is refined and distributed through a few large depots. Electricity generation within the built environment is rare, while district heating networks are virtually absent.
A key issue for decision makers is whether the strongly centralized approach to energy provision that developed in the post-war period can continue to meet the needs of the economy and society over the coming decades. The current pattern of mainly large-scale power plants and centralized delivery infrastructures for electricity, gas and oil may be sufficiently flexible to meet the dual challenges of energy security and climate change, but this is by no means certain. Meeting these challenges could require a significant shift so that energy systems are located at a range of scales. Indeed, some government strategies such as those to increase the role of renewables imply that such a shift needs to start soon.
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