Les transformations de l’action publique au prisme des réseaux électriques intelligents. Le cas des expérimentations de smart communities au Japon

Abstract : As smart grids’ experiments and smart cities are spreading through the world, this doctoral thesis questions the reconfigurations that have been affecting public action about energy issues since the appearance of these technological innovations. Through an analysis of energy policy tools and case studies of the governance of four ‘smart communities’ demonstration projects in Japan, my goal is to understand how the State redefines its role and its process of interaction with local governments and private actors. My main contribution is to analyze the practice of experimentation as an emerging tool of local policies, in response to major transformation that affect energy policies. Based on a neo-institutionalist approach, I highlight that the introduction of smart grids is based on continuities in terms of policymaking process and cognitive frames, while the policy tools used to implement smart grids are characterized by a ‘gradual institutional change’. Through an analysis of the first ‘smart communities’ demonstration projects that have been implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) between 2010 and 2015 in Yokohama, Toyota, Kyōto Keihanna et Kitakyūshū, I study the influence of experimentations in the implementation of local energy policies and in the interactions between the State and local actors. My case studies show that proactive local actors took over experiment as a way of enhancing the exemplariness of their territory and “best practices”. From a strategic point of view, this approach aims at attracting public and private funding, but in an institutional perspective, it also reveals how the State positions itself in order to increase its control over territorialized energy policies by promoting experimentation projects according to its strategies. I use the notion of ‘meta-governor’ and ‘governing by distance’ as a way of describing the measures implemented by the METI and other ministries to give room for manoeuvre to local actors and to grant concessions that fits with their strategies, while controlling over this process in order to maintain the general structure of the grid.
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Nicolas Leprêtre. Les transformations de l’action publique au prisme des réseaux électriques intelligents. Le cas des expérimentations de smart communities au Japon. Science politique. Université de Lyon, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016LYSEN033⟩. ⟨tel-01414743⟩

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