Technologies for Distributed Generation contribute to the next energy transition by offering ownership of cheap, localized, reliable, low-carbon electricity generation capacity to prosumers— individuals and communities who produce and consume their own electricity. Knowing that previous similarly radical changes to systems of energy provision initiated social and political transformation, my research hypothesizes that an energy transition occurring through the decentralization of electricity generation will have long lasting impacts on socio-political structures of power.
Particularly, my PhD aims to explore whether increasing electricity prosumption may bring about a socio-material transformation that weakens the state’s exclusive claim to biopower by discontinuing the material structures that have supported the centralization of political authority in its hands, leading to a more decentralized and community-led system. The overarching question for my research is: Does energy prosumption enable communities to participate in biopolitical practice and challenge centralized biopower? And if so how?
I will undertake qualitative comparative fieldwork studies in Italy, which produces 22.2% of its electricity from DG technologies.