LEC seminar 20th June: accelerated energy innovation & sustainable innovation studies

Accelerated Energy Innovation and Sustainable Innovation Studies

Friday 20th June, 2 – 3.30pm
Training Room 1, Lancaster Environment Centre 3, Gordon Manley Building, Lancaster University
Dr Mark Winksel, Edinburgh University

‘Accelerated energy innovation’ has become a prominent aspect of energy policymaking in response to more urgent drivers for change. This presentation will chart the rise of accelerated energy innovation, and considers its implications for sustainable innovation studies and research-policy exchange. As manifest in the UK, accelerated energy innovation has an emphasis on relatively short term dynamics (years rather than decades), a focus on cost reduction and deployment support for large scale technologies, and a central role for the private sector and public-private partnerships.

Because it is predominantly regime-led and continuity-based, accelerated energy innovation presents a challenge to theories of sustainable innovation which articulate to niche-led and disruptive accounts of change (such as Transitions Studies and Technological Innovation Systems theory). I argue that sustainable innovation studies – while maintaining its critical and reflexive stance – should more fully engage with the dynamics of energy systems under urgency, across a spectrum of continuity-based and disruptive changes.

Mark Winskel is a social scientist with a background in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS). His research addresses the relationship between technological change, governance and policy in the energy sector. He is an experienced interdisciplinary researcher, and has had a leading role in the interdisciplinary research programme of the UK Energy Research Centre since 2006. He is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh.