The Soft Energy Controversy

In October 1976, Amory Lovins published “Soft Energy Paths: The Road Not Taken” outlining an alternative to conventional energy policy. Beyond its historical significance in policy circles, the debate on the hard and soft paths has had an important legacy in the discourse on renewables. This essay traces some of the contributions and limitations of Lovins’s argument to a critical discourse on energy. It acknowledges its significance in affirming that our energy choices are socially and politically grounded while questioning the appropriateness of a hard-soft binary structure in delivering alternative social worlds.
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