Sustainable energy systems are widely seen as a desirable goal, but what constitutes such systems and how to make the transition from current practice to sustainable practice are more contested. Developed nations are locked-in to fossil fuel use, with a myriad of economic, technical, institutional and social obstacles discouraging change. Such obstacles are currently being faced by wind power proponents. The latter are promoting wind power in Australia because they believe it has a role in a sustainable energy system. The paper proposes that society can learn about the introduction of ‘sustainable’ technologies from the wind power case and suggests a body of theory and an analytical method for this purpose. The methodological argument is supported by the preliminary results of an ongoing empirical study. The paper concludes with a reflection on the theory and method and an outline of future research.
Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society 2004