History's contributions to energy research and policy

Richard F. Hirsh, Christopher Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Historical research can assist those analyzing contemporary energy systems or designing energy policies. While history does not directly repeat itself or offer powers of prediction, studies of the past can draw attention to frequently overlooked features of energy systems. Through a series of case studies, this article highlights historians' efforts to identify the essential role of social and cultural considerations in shaping the successes and failures of energy regimes. In particular, energy researchers and policy makers can learn much from historians about the links between energy, culture, and society; the role of often-invisible infrastructures in limiting useful discussions about energy systems; and the need to reevaluate the traditional notion of energy transitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Energy policy
  • Energy transitions
  • History
  • Infrastructure

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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