The Center for Energy & Society at Arizona State University was established to put people at the center of the conversation about the future of energy. Over the next few decades, a global energy revolution will fundamentally transform energy systems and infrastructures all over the planet. That revolution–the German word for energy transition, energiewende, means transformation or peaceful revolution–has profound human implications. Our job at the ASU Center for Energy & Society is to understand those implications and ensure that they are fully accounted for in the decisions made by energy business and policy leaders between now and 2050 as they redesign the world’s energy systems.
Carbon-based energy systems are so thoroughly intertwined with our identities, our ways of life and work, and our politics and economy that scholars have begun to talk about petrocultures and carbon democracies. What will it mean to exchange those forms of political and cultural life for photoncultures or solar democracies? Will energy transitions upend the distribution of wealth and power ? Will they alter the geopolitics of national and international security? What will it be like to inhabit the solar-powered societies and economies of tomorrow?
The International Energy Agency estimates a total cost for a global energy revolution of something like $70 trillion. What will humanity get out of that investment? Is a carbon-neutral energy system the best that we can do? Or can new energy systems also improve environmental, health, and economic justice; catalyze resilience, thriving, and sustainability for the world’s diverse communities; and reduce global inequalities? Can we, through energy innovation, contribute to making cities that are more livable and lives that are more worth living?
We believe we can.
Come see what we’re doing, and come join us in putting people at the heart of the global energy revolution.