Joanne Randa Nucho

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pomona College

Grant number

Gr. 10270

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Nucho, Joanne (Pomona College) "Post-Grid Imaginaries: Climate Change, Wildfires and Energy Futures in California"

JOANNE NUCHO, Pomona College, Claremont, California, received a grant in April 2022 to aid research on “Post-Grid Imaginaries: Climate Change, Wildfires and Energy Futures in California.” Under the emergency pressures of climate change, decentralizing the electrical grid through local energy generation and circulation seems increasingly inevitable and in many cases, necessary. But how can we ensure reliability and universal access with greater decentralization? This project examines “post-grid imaginaries” in the context of climate change, and the tentative materializations of these imagined futures through projects ranging from community microgrids to individual home battery systems across California. While there is potential for democratic, localized control over sustainable energy production and distribution, this transformation could also entrench spatialized energy inequalities in a new, sustainable energy landscape. By examining a moment of grid failure and the politics of energy transition and climate change in California, this project challenges developmentalist assumptions about the supposedly different trajectories of the so-called global north and south. If electricity has acted as part of a discourse of progress, what does it mean for the vast dynamic system of the electrical grid to be reimagined as a profoundly decentralized system? The grantee will investigate how imagined futures in the context of a climate crisis are emerging in projects today that can be examined ethnographically in California.