Rural laboratories and experiment at the fringes: A case study of a smart grid on Bruny Island, Australia

Heather Lovell*, Veryan Hann, Phillipa Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper examines the possibilities for significant energy innovation in rural locations in developed countries. It thereby questions the dominant framing of energy experiments and ‘living labs’ as urban. We discuss findings from empirical research with a rural community on Bruny Island, Australia, where a 3-year research project (2016–19) – CONSORT – funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is underway with approximately 35 householders trialing a new residential battery storage and photovoltaic energy system. Bruny Island has a problem of peak demand for electricity during tourist periods, and a back-up diesel generator is currently used to supply electricity during peaks. An alternative solution is being trialled through CONSORT: household-level battery storage, which can be drawn upon by the utility to supply the grid as required. In this paper we explore two energy geography issues: first, how global and national energy challenges are manifesting on Bruny Island through the CONSORT project, and, second, the ways in which the particular sociotechnical context of Bruny Island has influenced the CONSORT project, creating tensions as well as opening up opportunities for energy innovation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)146-155
    Number of pages10
    JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
    Volume36
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

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