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Message posted on 08/05/2020

CfP: Energy Systems and Changing Values (Deadline 1 June)

Dear colleagues,

I hope you are well in these extraordinary times. Although we are aware that
these are not as usual and it may take a while for things return to normal, we
want to take the liberty to send you a reminder of a call for participating in
a workshop on energy systems and value change we are organizing in October.
The deadline for contributions is June, 1. The full text is below. Feel free
to distribute this call in your network. I hope you will consider contributing
despite the hectic times. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Warm regards,
Anna Melnyk


Call for papers for workshop and special issue Energy Systems and Changing
15 to 17 October 2020, TU Delft, The Netherlands

Call for contributions
We invite contributions to a workshop on Energy systems and changing values to
be held from 15 to 17 October 2020 in Delft, The Netherlands. People
interested in contributing to the workshop are requested to submit a 300-word
abstract to before 1 June
2020. You will be notified before 1 July whether you are selected for
inclusion in the workshop. We expect to be able to select around 15 papers. A
limited number of travel stipends will be available for graduate students who
face financial constraints, but who are willing to participate and whose
abstracts are accepted. We especially encourage candidates from
underrepresented groups to apply. Selected authors are requested to send a
draft paper of 3000 to 5000 words before 1 September 2020. At the workshop, we
will discuss the draft papers of the various contributors. After the workshop,
we will invite a selection of the contributions for a special issue of
Science, Technology & Human Values.

Keynote speakers
Confirmed keynote speakers include Benjamin Sovacool (Professor of Energy
Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of
Sussex), Rafaela Hillerbrand (Professor of Philosophy of Engineering,
Technology Assessment, and Science at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and
Martin Peterson (Professor of Philosophy and Bovay Professor of the History
and Ethics of Professional Engineering at the Texas A&M University).

In many parts of the world, the need for a transition to more sustainable
energy systems is felt. It is obvious that the energy transition is a
technical and economic process, but it also requires changes in institutions
and values. Values that play a role in energy transition include energy
efficiency; sustainability and other environmental values; security and
reliability; social justice and fairness; autonomy and power; safety; privacy,
aesthetics and landscape embedding. These values are not static but change
over time; for example because a value may become less or more important.
Sustainability was, for example, given less emphasis when the current energy
systems were designed compared to the current energy transition. Another value
that seems to gain in importance, due to a transition to more decentralized
energy generation and the advance of community energy systems, is energy
autarky. Another shape that value change can take is the emergence of new
values. For example, energy justice and energy democracy have emerged as new
values in the last decade in relation to the energy transition.

Addressing value change is particularly important because energy systems have
large technological and institutional momentum while they are often socially
contested. The technological and institutional momentum implies that these
systems are often hard to change; technical infrastructures are usually built
for decades; and also institutional rules cannot be changed overnight. This
makes it more difficult and costly to deal with value change. At the same
time, the socially contested character of many energy technologies makes it
not only crucial to properly address values for the ethical acceptability and
social acceptance of these systems, but makes it also likely that new values
will emerge in public debates about energy technologies. So while value change
may be endemic in energy systems, these systems at the same time have
characteristics that make it harder to deal with such value change.

Value change in energy systems can be studied at different levels and from
different angles, including, but not necessarily limited to, 1) changes in
values among energy consumers and the general public, 2) changes in values of
energy producers and grid operators, 3) changes in values implied by different
energy technologies, 4) changes in values implied by different institutional
and organizational arrangements for the production, distribution and
consumption of energy, and the relations between these four.

Specific topics that could be addressed for the workshop include:
How can we conceptually and theoretically understand value change in the
energy sector?
What are important historical value changes in the energy domain?
What methods are available for describing and analyzing value change in
the energy domain?
What are the implications of value change for the design and governance
of energy systems?
How are we to interpret the emergence of new values like energy justice
and energy democracy?
What values are implied by different energy technologies? How do
(changing) values play out in the design of different energy technologies?
How do values and institutional structures mutually shape each other in
the energy sector?
Do value changes in the energy sector lead to new value tensions and
what are possible ways of dealing with such value tensions?
But other questions that fit the general theme are welcome as well.

The workshop is part of the project ValueChange that has received funding from
the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020
research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 788321. See:


Anna Melnyk

TU Delft

PhD Candidate

Ethics/Philosophy of Technology | Technology, Policy & Management

Building 31, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX, Delft, The Netherlands

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