Press Release

Energy industry gathering will feature American Academy report on adoption of alternative technologies


WASHINGTON, DC – The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ new report, Beyond Technology: Strengthening Energy Policy Through Social Science, will be featured here today at the nation’s preeminent policy forum for state and federal energy policymakers.

Academy project member Kelly Sims Gallagher will describe the report and its recommendations at the 2012 National Electricity Forum, a meeting organized by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). The gathering draws policy-makers, energy industry leaders, and scholars from around the country to address challenges facing the electricity industry in the 21st century.

The Academy’s Beyond Technology report says greater attention to consumer attitudes and human behavior could speed adoption of alternative energy technologies that would save the United States billions of dollars every year. Utilizing the social sciences could lead to more-user-friendly appliance energy labels and advance the appeal and impact of home renovation projects, according to the report, and utilities could adopt social science-based best practices when deploying new technologies, like smart meters, whose success depends on public acceptance by individual consumers.

The report’s findings come from ongoing Academy work that is sponsored in part by DOE and the National Science Foundation and involves representatives from academia, industry, and government.

DOE is responsible for advancing technical and policy issues related to modernizing the electric power infrastructure. NARUC has decision-making authority for electricity industry investments at the state and regional levels.

Gallagher is associate professor of energy and environmental policy at Tufts University, and serves as a member of the American Academy’s Committee on the Alternative Energy Future.