Imagining energy futures: Sociotechnical imaginaries of the future Smart Grid in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Department of Geography 
A future “Smart Grid” is increasingly being embraced in energy policies as a promising energy scenario for the future, with the introduction of “smart” electricity meters being seen as the first step. In Norway, this process is happening without much public debate. Discussions of complexity and uncertainty related to the future Smart Grid are mainly taking place within a network of actors with recognized expertise. Based on empirical data from interviews and documentary analysis, this paper describes sociotechnical energy imaginaries of a future Smart Grid in a Norwegian context from within this network of experts, which is conceptualized as a techno-epistemic network. The future imaginaries of smart meters and a future Smart Grid are mainly technological and economical, and they are partly permeated by national imaginations. They connect the past and the future by providing solutions for current challenges in the energy supply system, which reflect current institutional and technological structures. The imaginaries also include constructions of the public, or “consumers”, which has implications for the communication to the public. The paper suggests that increased openness and the inclusion of multiple perspectives and ways of knowing, inspired by post-normal science, could facilitate more careful consideration of potential social implications.