Article in History and Technology
Nils Randlev Hundebøl and Kristian H. Nielsen publish their article: "Preparing for change: acid rain, climate change, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), 1972–1990s"
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) was created in 1972 as a nonprofit research organization, funded primarily by the US electric power industry. Managing a broad public-private collaborative research program, EPRI was to prepare the industry for change by addressing major issues related to electric power production. Among other things, EPRI initiated an ambitious environmental research program in relation to acid rain and, later, climate change. Partly in consequence of the lessons learned in acid rain research, EPRI’s Environment Division around 1990 developed grand plans to show industry leadership on how to address climate change. However, as this article shows, EPRI gradually realized that natural science research alone was not an adequate response to environmental and social changes. Two vocabularies for change resulted: one in which change would be addressed by means of assessments in which future developments in the nature-society-technology system could be delineated, predicted, and ameliorated, and one in which change was essentially unpredictable and potentially dangerous.