Contradictory but also complementary: National and local imaginaries in Japan and Fukushima around transitions to hydrogen and renewables

Gregory Trencher, Jeroen van der Heijden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Scholarship is devoting increasing attention to the important role that socio-technical imaginaries play in materialising desirable energy futures by inspiring and propelling technological innovation strategies, mobilising stakeholders and resources, and justifying necessary policy introductions and transformations of socio-economic systems. This article contributes to this emerging scholarship by exploring two relevant cases and their interactions: Japan's national imaginary around a transition to a hydrogen society and Fukushima Prefecture's local imaginary around a post-nuclear disaster transition to a society powered 100% by both renewables and hydrogen. As we demonstrate, while the process of interaction and appropriation of the national-level hydrogen imaginary to the Fukushima context triggered contestations, friction and contradictions, we also identify positive outcomes. That is, the process of convergence encountered concurrence in stakeholder communities and complemented existing efforts to achieve a renewable energy future that is unique to this particular geography. By also exploring positive outcomes, this study moves beyond existent scholarship—which has focused on negative consequences such as tensions and contestations—to propose a nuanced appreciation of the mixed outcomes that might ensure the convergence of diverging imaginaries from differing geographical scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-218
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar


  • Energy futures
  • Energy visions
  • Hydrogen
  • Japan
  • Multi-scalar
  • Socio-technical imaginary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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