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Smart grid knowledges and the state


Lovell, H and Powells, G, Smart grid knowledges and the state, Area, 52, (3) pp. 583-590. ISSN 0004-0894 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1111/area.12613


In this paper we call for a closer analysis of the role of the nation state in shaping the geographies of knowledge created through public–private infrastructure collaborations, focusing on the empirical case of smart grids. We draw on contributions from economic geographers and political scientists, identifying an empirical and analytical blind spot around how states shape knowledge production and mobility in regulated infrastructure economies. We argue that national state institutions have strong influence through their initial framing of what is relevant knowledge, and the geography of its applicability. The type of knowledge valued by the state institutions in our two case studies of public–private smart grid initiatives is that which can be rescaled to apply to national energy systems, by being stripped of its local context. In practice, however, many types of knowledge are produced through smart grid experiments, including tacit, context‐specific knowledge. In this short paper we demonstrate the need to be attentive to both corporate and policy theories about types of knowledge and their mobilities, in order to better understand the geographies of smart grid and other regulated infrastructure knowledges.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:knowledge mobilities, nation state, policy mobilities, private, public, smart grid 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)
ID Code:138584
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT140100646)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-04-16
Last Modified:2021-02-11
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