Data seems to be everywhere in contemporary society, including energy. Precisely because of this ubiquity, it is important to consider how data is created and used, and how it circulates, so that we can understand the implications for the energy transition, whether in the business sector, private and public life. The intersection of energy and big data also needs to be taken into account to achieve a sustainable future.
The course I’ll be teaching during my upcoming visit at the Dept of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna will equip students to reflect and act on issues around big data, and will draw on conceptual and empirical work in the area of energy and sustainability. Big data is a phenomenon that affects all kinds of domains, from energy to banking to sports to neuroscience, and most of the theories and concepts discussed in the course will be of use in understanding Big Data (and other data-intensive innovations) in other domains as well.
Big data has a history going back several decades and has been shaped by tools and institutions, with the result that ‘big data’ has its own structures, biases and tendencies. It is therefore crucial to analyse how big data approaches are a specific way of creating knowledge about energy and how this knowledge is used. In particular, we will trace how new forms of measurement yield data that are then combined with particular kinds of statistics and database logics, and how an informational turn is affecting the technologies and infrastructures in the area of energy.
The topics to be addressed in the lectures are
- Key concepts in transition theory and big data
- Impasses in the Energy Transition
- Data/Facta (Data is made, not found)
- Hope and Hype around Smart Energy
- Interface with Energy Data
- Big Data, Energy, Households and the Self
The course will be held in March 2018 and I’ll be reporting on this blog about our learning.