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Energy Communication & Energy Democracy

I am interested in the role of rhetoric and communication in the sociopolitical aspects of energy policy. My research on energy communication is supported by three grants from the National Science Foundation Science Technology and Society division. In a book chapter in the International Communication Association’s Communication Yearbook series my co-authors and I stake out “energy communication” as a new sub-field in communication and outline several paths forward for research in this emerging and socially significant area. In another Communication Yearbook book chapter, my co-authors and I offer a programmatic review of communication research on nuclear power, which won the National Communication Association’s Christine L. Oravec Book Chapter Award. My current interest is in examining the internal expert-to-expert rhetoric of low-carbon energy technology scientists and engineers as they talk among themselves about the non-technical, sociopolitical implications of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), nuclear, and wind technologies. An example of this research is this article  that examines how carbon sequestration scientists and engineers grappled with a framing change within their community. More recently, I co-organized an interdisciplinary symposium on energy democracy to examine how to enhance the role of democratic decision-making in the pursuit of new energy technologies and systems. More information on the NSF-funded project can be found here.

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