Planning story lines in smart grid road maps (2010–2014): three types of maps for coordinated time travel
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The roll-out of smart grids poses planning challenges that are typical for sustainable innovation in mature infrastructures. Most notably, planners encounter a high degree of complexity caused by multiple interacting scalar and temporal layers; they encounter vested interests and they have to mobilize a large amount of resources. Rip [(2012). The context of innovation journeys. Creativity and Innovation Management, 21(2), 158–170. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8691.2012.00640.x] has proposed that a mediating ‘layer’ of anticipatory coordination devices, such as road maps, enables innovations to enter complex regimes without losing their novelty. In light of current delays in the European roll-out of smart meters, we have conducted a mixed-methods study of the vocabulary and planning story lines used in 13 different smart grid road maps. Based on a correspondence analysis of documents and terms used in the documents, three distinct types of road maps were found. A subsequent close reading of three road maps that each represents one of the types shows how they approach the modernization of electricity infrastructure in distinct ways: a reliance on the market to tackle complexity was observed in UK-type road maps, a strong focus on a due standardization processes was found in the US-type and a technology-centred perspective dominated the China-type documents.