Energy Council of Canada Fellow Bronwyn Lazowski
At the beginning of April 2017, I had the great opportunity to represent the University of Waterloo and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy at the 1st International Conference on Energy Research and Social Science. Hosted in Sitges, Spain, this conference brought together an engaging group of academics, policy makers and professionals in the sphere of energy research and social science. Affiliated with the Energy Research & Social Science Journal, the theme for the conference was Energy for Society and featured several noteworthy plenary speakers, including: Dr. Benjamin Sovacool, Dr. Miranda Schreurs, Dr. May Tan-Mullins, Dr. Jim Watson, Dr. Marilyn Brown, and Professor Michael Jefferson.
During the introductory keynote, Dr. Benjamin Sovacool presented the importance of this first international conference, and promotion of social science in energy research. In particular, it was highlighted that social science can increase the usability of energy research; can provide more thorough understandings of energy consumption behaviours; can reshape constructions of risks and rewards in energy transitions; and can introduce equity, fairness and justices into research on current energy issues and future energy scenarios. The Energy Research & Social Science Journal has been grounded on the promotion and development of these areas and of social science in energy research.
During the conference, I had the great opportunity to present my WISE, ECC and SSHRC funded research, entitled ‘Assessing the influence of smart grid interventions on residential energy culture.’ While presenting my research, I was able to engage with multiple conference participants and gained valuable feedback on my dissertation research, as well as to promote the University of Waterloo’s energy research.
It was a great experience to participate in the 1st International Conference on Energy Research and Social Science. The sessions focused on several themes of the Energy Research & Social Science Journal, including: energy and social theory; energy consumption and behaviour; national energy politics; energy institutions and governance; energy equity and justice; energy and innovation, energy transitions, distributed and community energy, energy affordability and poverty; the water, food and energy nexus; energy security; and the state of the field of energy, social science and energy studies. Hearing these research presentations, and having discussions with likeminded researchers from all over the world, provided engaging commentaries and directions for future research in this sphere and interesting insights to share with my colleagues at WISE. I look forward to utilizing the feedback gained at this conference and to engaging with this new network of colleagues I developed at the 1st International Conference on Energy Research and Social Science.