People power crucial for low-carbon future.
Policy makers must harness the power of ordinary people if society is to transition to a low-carbon energy future, argues a leading technology historian.
Five types of energy users who can influence change
- The User-Producers – construct, tinker, amend, exploit, modify and improve technologies by engaging in extensive thinking and learning around the product, process or system. User-Producers are key to the innovation and start-ups.
- The User-Legitimators – These types are intrinsic in creating belief in the fresh technology, system, product or method. They positively inform and affect wider societal beliefs. They help provide knowledge to aid cultural acceptance.
- The User-Citizens – They are the activists, challengers and agents of social change against the current system. They mobilise and contest to carve out the existing structure fuelling the appetite and adoption of the new methods.
- The User-Intermediaries – create, influence and nurture the necessary networks by bringing together the critical producers, users, regulators and organisations. They create credibility which helps ‘mainstream’ the niche.
- The User-Consumers – these ‘lead-consumers’ adopt the niche developments early. They change to embed them in their daily routines. By attaching meaning, significance or status, User-Consumers contribute considerably to the positive construction of ideas about the niche within wider society. Therefore, they prompt mass take-up to take it from an innovative niche to fully-fledged regime.