Our project

The project stems from the tensions in the everyday lives of citizens engendered by the ongoing energy transition, which have gained limited attention in energy transition research. The tensions entail challenges for citizens in terms of competences, images and material and financial demands that may exclude some citizens.

The project provides a new perspective on current discussions on resistance to transitions, ownership of the energy transition and energy justice. We do so by zooming into tensions that are common to particular everyday life situations rather than locations. We investigate challenges encountered by ordinary citizens in the energy transition, and possibilities to overcome them, through four in-depth cases identified as critical in previous research. We focus on

  1.  the equity effects of the electrification of transport,
  2.  the changing relationships between energy companies and consumers,
  3.  the challenges encountered by users of energy-smart buildings and
  4. energy poverty among low-income owner of homes in need of refurbishment.

Our analysis of these cases draws on practice and actor-network theories, and Marres’ concepts of material participation and attachments. Through our empirical research, we develop the link between competence and inclusion in the energy transition by exploring how new competences of using and producing energy relate to particular practices and create identities and affordances for participation. A synthesis of the cases develops a conceptual contribution on the relationships between competence, inclusion, affordances for participation and identification (or non-identification) with the energy transition. For this purpose, we pay attention not only to problems indicating tensions in the energy transition, but also to provisional solutions emerging from everyday practice.

In addition to academic contributions in international comparison and collaboration, we also produce societal impact via interactive workshops. We also help politicians and public officials by addressing topical concerns of engaging citizens in the energy transition through research-based understanding. This impact is reached via in-person meetings with research users, invited talks, media appearances and blog posts, and direct engagement in social and conventional media, and civic debates at city halls and schools.

Citizens, Everyday Life and Tensions in the Energy Transition is funded by the Academy of Finland, grant number 333556.

Please get in touch if you are interested in our project: eva.heiskanen@helsinki.fi