CSAFE’s first research with an energy focus emerged through a subcontract with Lincoln University for Technology Users’ Innovations (2008-2011, MSI-funded project), which investigated the experiences of innovators identifying the conditions under which socio-technical networks best foster technology development, adoption and commercialisation. Additionally, Social Acceptance of Renewable Electricity Developments reviewed societal responses to energy projects in New Zealand over the past 10 years (2010, EECA-funded project).
The major Energy Cultures programme began with a pilot (2009, UORG-funded project) that was funded through the Department of Marketing but involved a CSAFE staff member. This success led to a bid for a three-year interdisciplinary research project involving four University of Otago departments as well as the School of Law at Waikato University, investigating energy behaviour in households (2009-2012, MSI-funded project). Using multiple methods and an integrating framework, Energy Cultures seeks to identify ‘cultures’ of energy-use around which promising intervention strategies can be designed.
Dr. Janet Stephenson also has a long-running relationship with the community-initiated Blueskin Energy Project, which has supported various postgraduate research projects. Through this project, Janet co-authored a report on community engagement over a proposed community wind turbine.