Projections of technological progress are often badly wrong. How do these false promises, threats, and fears shape our thinking, research priorities, and capacity for transforming energy systems? This talk will explore projections and realities of new and old technologies within the energy sector to explore how and when “conventional wisdom” flipped and implications for research, funding and policy change. Examples from nuclear, oil, wind and solar and energy efficiency highlight the need for new conceptualizations and models for understanding energy system evolution and change.
Professor Elizabeth J. Wilson is the inaugural director of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society and Professor in the Environmental Studies Department at Dartmouth College. She studies how energy systems are changing in the face of new technologies and new societal pressures. Her work focuses on the implementation of energy and environmental policies and laws in practice. She is interested in how institutions support and thwart energy system transitions and focuses on the interplays between technology innovation, policy creation, and institutional decision-making. Her books include Energy Law and Policy, Second Edition (West Academic Publishing) (with Davies, Klass, Tomain and Osofsky) and Smart Grid (R)evolution: Electric Power Struggles (Cambridge Press) (with Stephens and Peterson).
Wilson was a professor at the University of Minnesota and was awarded a 2015 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and spent the 2016-17 academic year at the Danish Technical University. She was selected as a 2014-15 CIC Academic Leadership Fellow. She was chosen as a Leopold Leadership Fellow in 2011. She spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, supported by McKnight Land-Grant Professorship. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota she worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and before that Wilson worked in Belgium, Burundi and Tanzania. She holds a doctorate in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.
This seminar is supported by the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment.