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Rural laboratories and experiment at the fringes: case study of a smart grid on Bruny Island, Australia


Lovell, H and Hann, V and Watson, P, Rural laboratories and experiment at the fringes: case study of a smart grid on Bruny Island, Australia, Energy Research & Social Science, 36 pp. 146-155. ISSN 2214-6296 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.erss.2017.09.031


This paper examines the possibilities for significant energy innovation in rural locations in developed countries. It thereby questions the dominant framing of energy experiments and ‘living labs’ as urban. We discuss findings from empirical research with a rural community on Bruny Island, Australia, where a 3-year research project (2016–19) – CONSORT – funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is underway with approximately 35 householders trialing a new residential battery storage and photovoltaic energy system. Bruny Island has a problem of peak demand for electricity during tourist periods, and a back-up diesel generator is currently used to supply electricity during peaks. An alternative solution is being trialled through CONSORT: household-level battery storage, which can be drawn upon by the utility to supply the grid as required. In this paper we explore two energy geography issues: first, how global and national energy challenges are manifesting on Bruny Island through the CONSORT project, and, second, the ways in which the particular sociotechnical context of Bruny Island has influenced the CONSORT project, creating tensions as well as opening up opportunities for energy innovation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:smart grids, Australia, experimentation, rural experiments
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Human geography not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Energy
Objective Group:Energy storage, distribution and supply
Objective Field:Smart grids
UTAS Author:Lovell, H (Professor Heather Lovell)
UTAS Author:Hann, V (Ms Veryan Hann)
UTAS Author:Watson, P (Dr Phillipa Watson)
ID Code:122021
Year Published:2018 (online first 2017)
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2017-10-25
Last Modified:2020-04-20

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