Renewing the subterranean energy regime? How petroculture obscures the materiality of deep geothermal energy technology in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Social visions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources have motivated unprecedented growth in global renewable energy manufacturing. Previous literature shows that people committed to realizing such visions have difficulties reconciling with the negative social-ecological impacts of this mass production even if it presents a formidable challenge to a socially just and ecologically sustainable energy transition. This study contributes to a better understanding of how stakeholders view the promises and perils of large-scale renewable energy development. It draws on the petroculture literature to understand how stakeholder viewpoints of deep geothermal energy technology may be a product of the historically unparalleled energy throughput since the mid-20th century. The study relies on Q-methodology for identifying viewpoints among stakeholders in deep geothermal energy in Sweden. The results demonstrate a notable influence of petrocultural assumptions, which helps to explain how stakeholders obfuscate the materiality of renewable energy technologies. This suggests that social visions to replace fossil fuels with technologically sophisticated renewable energy systems could themselves be cultural products of the fossil era inclined to reproduce it.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108129
JournalEcological Economics
Volume219
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
  • Social Anthropology

Free keywords

  • Deep geothermal energy
  • petroculture
  • Q-methodology
  • energy transition
  • social metabolism
  • enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)

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