RADICAL CHANGE or DISRUPTIVE CHANGE?

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Here is an excerpt from a audio transcript on the two different perspectives of what drives change in behavior concerning energy alternatives.  I would love for you to let me know what you think about this topic! 

 

RADICAL CHANGE VS DISRUPTIVE CHANGE – Dr Steve Cayzer & Dr Carolyn Hayles

“…Well, in energy, I think we can probably put something in all of those four quadrants that we’ve talked about. In the incremental and sustaining quadrant, the bottom left quadrant, I would put improvements in efficiency of the internal combustion engine that powers our cars.

You see, over the past few decades, people have been making cars more efficient in terms of the amount of fuel that they need to travel. But this hasn’t fundamentally changed the architecture of the internal combustion engine nor has it changed our relationship with our vehicles.

That’s not to say it isn’t important. And in fact, those sorts of innovations are the bulk of most innovations anywhere.

But up at the radical end, I would argue you could put carbon capture and storage. This, as you probably know, is a technology that attempts to capture the harmful emissions from producing our energy from coal.

It’s radical because it’s still in development. It hasn’t been deployed to scale but it has huge potential. But it’s actually sustaining because it doesn’t actually change the structure of the coal industry nor the way in which we use energy that’s generated from coal.

Now diametrically opposed to that, I would argue something close to what Carolyn’s been talking about is the– just turning down your thermostat. What could be easier than that? It is almost the opposite of radical. But I would argue that just as we’ve been talking about with passive houses and people getting used to them, I’d argue that that is actually quite disruptive because it requires behavioural change.

It requires people to change the way that they live in their house. And as I talked about in Week Two, behaviour change is perhaps one of the most difficult sustainability challenges.

So is there something that’s both radical and disruptive in terms of energy?

Well, I would argue that what might fit up there is the European super grid because, if you think about that, the notion here is that we can have energy across Europe generated from renewable sources, primarily renewable sources, but of course, it overcomes the disadvantages of renewables being intermittent. So it’s not always windy where you want the energy but it’ll be windy somewhere in Europe. So you could export say wind from northern Scotland or perhaps some solar power from southern Spain to the areas that it’s needed.

But that’s quite radical in the sense of long-distance transmission of energy, perhaps energy storage, smart grids, not to mention all the political challenges. And it’s also, I would argue, disruptive because it changes the way that energy markets work, both nationally and all across the continent up Europe.

So I think we can sum up, can’t we, by saying that, broadly speaking, radical change requires technical innovation. But disruptive change requires market innovation.

Yes, and we’ve looked at both radical and disruptive change in housing and energy.”

 

© 2014 University of Bath 2,   Audio Transcript  https://ugc.futurelearn.com/uploads/related_file/file/2943/9eeda0bbc6e60997ee276e68e2b95ee7-SP4_4_3.pdf

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