eCite Digital Repository

The promise of smart grids


Lovell, H, The promise of smart grids, Local Environment: the international journal of justice and sustainability, 24, (7) pp. 580-594. ISSN 1354-9839 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/13549839.2017.1422117


It is the promise of smart grids – their anticipated role in meeting economic, social, environmental policy objectives – that is driving action on smart grids worldwide, while the reality is rather more messy. This paper is about the implementation of smart grids in Australia, and examines the degree to which environmental and social promises have materialised (or not) within two large energy smart grid initiatives undertaken in the period 2009–2014: the federal government-sponsored Smart Grid Smart City Program and the State of Victoria’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure Program. The analysis draws on a governmentality approach to examine how the promise of smart grids has not for the most part been delivered, concentrating in particular on how new digital technologies have not "behaved" in the way originally planned. Within a governmentality framework, it is generally assumed that technologies work to support government programmes, to accomplish governance. But growing evidence points to smart grid technologies undermining the promise of smart grids. Such a finding stands at odds with the assumption in governmentality about technologies doing work in consort with rationalities of government.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:smart grids, Australia, experimentation, governmentality
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology and social studies of science and technology
Objective Division:Energy
Objective Group:Energy storage, distribution and supply
Objective Field:Smart grids
UTAS Author:Lovell, H (Professor Heather Lovell)
ID Code:123423
Year Published:2019 (online first 2018)
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT140100646)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-01-08
Last Modified:2020-04-20

Repository Staff Only: item control page