Philosophy and Ethics of Energy Development

What are the most general questions concerning our attitudes to energy technologies?

The main aim of the sessions is to teach students that thinking only in terms of feasibility of technical innovations may prove misleading. Instead of waiting for various and possibly undesirable, harmful or unjust consequences of technological innovations, we should rather follow the principle of precaution, explore and map social impacts at the initial stage. Very often social impacts turn out to be interconnected with concerns about safety and possible risks. Nevertheless, to go beyond the standpoint of technical acceptability requires more than addressing these interconnections. It requires taking into account social acceptability in the population affected by introduction of the given energy technology. A possible example in this respect is the well-known copper plate model of the European power grid, which is presently in conflict with low social acceptability of investments into new high-voltage transmission lines (Papaefthymiou 2016).