Presentation given at RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London, 27-29 August 2014.
Abstract: Efforts to reduce or manage energy demand in the UK have to grapple with understandings and discourses of ‘needed’ energy, understandings that may bound or limit the possibilities of change from present conditions. Electrical power is often thought about and spoken of as a fundamental need, necessary for any ‘civilised’ and just society, for economic development and for individuals to have a minimally decent quality of life. Assumptions about levels of ‘needed’ current and future electricity demand and the associated ‘needed’ capacities of supply infrastructures can also be embedded in a variety of ways within systems of provision, institutional arrangements and regulatory provisions. In this seminar we draw on an exploration and review of academic analysis and media discourse to outline a series of ways of conceptualising the relation between need and electricity. We argue that the way in which this relation is understood has significant implications for demand objectives and processes, as well as for questions of social justice