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Beyond social impact of energy systems : a critical review of French energy prospective study

Baptiste Soubra
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Bertrand Bocquet
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Net zero greenhouse gas emission has been set as the goal to reach in 2050 in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. Each IPCC report reminds us of the important role that the transformation of energy systems shall play in this mitigation. Finally the cards we should play to sufficiently transform the energy systems in time are well known : reduce the use of fossil fuels, develop renewables and reduce the overall energy consumption. Thus the last question to answer to concerns the pathways societies should follow to meet such goals. How does society address such questions ? A part of the answers is quantitative modelling, and simulating complex systems in order to build scenarios which aim to help policy makers and companies to make decisions. However one may ask to what extent the civil society can take part into such studies ? Or, if quantitative modelling is able to encompass complex socio-political issues to draw feasible scenarios ? This paper proposes a critical analysis of a global energy approach through the scope of socio-technical systems and public participation. We analyses the methodology of a recently published French studies that aimed to contribute to public debate about energy transition : "Futurs énergétiques 2050" by RTE. This review emphasizes the predominance of techno-economical considerations versus social and political matters. This is a major weakness of such studies since they cannot guarantee whether or not scenarios are socially feasible or if they correspond to the interest of main actors. A comparison to existing socio-technical energy models and grounded approaches for implementation of sociotechnical transitions allows us to draw area for improvement of energy planning methodologies in order to tackle this weakness. Finally, participation appears to help encompassing socio-political dimensions within scenarios.
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halshs-03750850 , version 1 (12-08-2022)


  • HAL Id : halshs-03750850 , version 1


Baptiste Soubra, Bertrand Bocquet. Beyond social impact of energy systems : a critical review of French energy prospective study. EASST 2022 : Politics of Technoscientific Futures, Jul 2022, Madrid, Spain. ⟨halshs-03750850⟩
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