Social Acceptance of Energy Storage

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Duration

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 to Sunday, April 15, 2018

This project is focused on the social acceptance of energy storage, and it is part of a larger research network, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada - the NSERC Energy Storage Technology Network (NESTNet).  NESTNet is headquartered at Ryerson University, under the project leadership of Bala Venkatesh, Professor and Academic Director of the Centre of Urban Energy.

Project 4.6 of NESTNet, on the social acceptance of energy storage, is led by Dr. Ian Rowlands, Professor in SERS and Associate Vice-President of Waterloo International.  My status as a postdoctoral fellow on this project will run from June 2016 to April 2018, and has three primary objectives: to conduct a literature review of the social acceptance of energy storage; to conduct a review of methods for assessing social acceptance; and to build and maintain an online database of energy storage activities in Canada. 

Mapping the social acceptance literature

As part of a current project looking at the social acceptance of energy storage, I was expected to deliver both a literature review on the social acceptance of energy storage and a review of methods for assessing social acceptance.  Unfortunately, preliminary literature searches revealed that there was very little literature looking directly at the social acceptance of energy storage.  For a time a toyed with the idea of building a framework for prospectively assessing social acceptance of energy storage on the basis of 'technological analogues', but it became clear that there were at least two problems with that plan.  One was that I lacked a thorough enough understanding of what 'social acceptance' means for building out that side of the framework.  The second, closely related problem, was that without a strong understanding of the most salient considerations determining social acceptance of energy technology, it wasn't possible to identify what technologies, and in what context, could be considered 'analogous' to energy storage.