Accepted paper:

Media and citizen representations of solar energy: the case of the Solar Mediterranean Plan

Authors:

Marta Severo (Université de Paris 1, GIS CIST)

Paper short abstract:

The debate about renewable energy has overflowed academic laboratories to involve wider publics. One exemplar case is the debate about the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) that combines political, technical and social issues. This communication aims at analysing the representations of the MSP in the media.

Paper long abstract:

In the last few years, the debate about renewable energy, particularly solar energy, has overflowed academic laboratories to involve wider publics, such as politicians et enterprises attracted by the increasing funds allocated to such sector, and citizens facing the menace of climate change and coping with the emergence of these new forms of energy. One exemplar case is the communication about the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP). Facing the energy demand and climate change challenges, Euro-Mediterranean countries launched in 2008 the MSP as a new form of cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean Sea to increase the production and the use of solar energy. Today, this plan constitutes one of the main techno-scientific challenges investing the Mediterranean area. The controversy around the Mediterranean Solar Plan combines the political issues related to the development of the Union for the Mediterranean (the Germany-France relation, the North and South divide), the technical issues related to industrial projects as Desertec and Medgrid (photovoltaic vs thermal concentration, transport infrastructure vs on-site technology…) and the social issues related to changes in the production and consumption of energy affecting local population. This communication aims at analysing the representations of the MSP in the media, by identifying the controversial issues and by focusing on how they are presented by different media, journals and portals as well as blogs and social media. The media discourse will be compared with both the official communication about the project (press released, technical and government reports…) and citizen communication as it emerges in the Web 2.0.

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