The Energy Impacts Symposium

will be held July 26-27, 2017

at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio

The 2017 Energy Impacts Symposium – the first multi-disciplinary, multi-energy conference of its kind – will provide a forum for energy-related social science experts to present, collaborate, and review research from across energy regimes. The two-day conference will bring together researchers to present research findings, exhibit posters, engage in panel discussions, and network, with specific events and opportunities targeting underrepresented groups, new researchers, and students.

About the Symposium

Energy Impacts 2017 is a energy research conference and workshop, organized by a 9-member interdisciplinary steering committee, focused on synthesis, comparison, and innovation among established and emerging energy impacts scholars from North America and abroad. We invite participation from sociologists, geographers, political scientists, economists, anthropologists, practitioners, and other interested parties whose work addresses impacts of new energy development for host communities and landscapes.
The pace, scale, and intensity of new energy development around the world demands credible and informed research about potential impacts to human communities that host energy developments. From new electrical transmission lines needed for a growing renewable energy sector to hydraulically fracturing shale for oil and gas, energy development can have broad and diverse impacts on the communities where it occurs. While a fast-growing cadre of researchers has emerged to produce important new research on the social, economic, and behavioral impacts from large-scale energy development for host communities and landscapes, their discoveries are often isolated within disciplinary boundaries.
Through facilitated interactive workshop activities, invited experts and symposium participants will produce a roadmap for future cross-disciplinary research priorities.
Energy Impacts 2017 will showcase the state of knowledge about:
  • The social and economic costs and benefits to landowners, residents, and communities;

  • Measuring, monitoring and communicating impacts;

  • The interaction of environmental change with quality of life and indicators of health and well-being;

  • Questions of equity and justice in energy development patterns and outcomes;

  • The efficacy of existing regulatory and governance regimes; and,

  • Social acceptance and risk perception of energy technologies


Important Dates

Extended to March 1, 2017

Paper abstract deadline

February 15, 2017       

Paper abstract acceptance notification

April 1, 2017

April 1, 2017

Registration open/Registration fee announced

April 1, 2017

Travel award notification

April 15, 2017

Poster abstract 

April 20, 2017

Poster acceptance notification

May 1, 2017

Presenter and early bird registration deadline

Preliminary conference program released

June 1, 2017

July 26-27, 2017

Energy Impacts Symposium, Columbus Ohio


Invited Speakers

Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool


  • Editor-in-Chief, Energy Research & Social Science

  • Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Institute, University of Sussex

  • Director, Sussex Energy Group

  • Director, Center on Innovation and Energy Demand

Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool is Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the School of Business, Management, and Economics, at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, where he serves as Director of the Sussex Energy Group and Director of the Center on Innovation and Energy Demand. Sovacool works as a researcher and consultant on issues pertaining to energy policy, energy security, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation. His research focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, the politics of large-scale energy infrastructure, designing public policy to improve energy security and access to electricity, and building adaptive capacity to the consequences of climate change. Sovacool is the founding Editor-in-Chief for the international peer-reviewed journal Energy Research & Social Science, published by Elsevier, sits on the Editorial Advisory Panel of Nature Energy, and is the author of more than 300 refereed articles, book chapters, books, and reports on energy and climate change issues. 

  • Director, Institute for Social Science Research on Natural Resources, Utah State University

  • Professor, Director of Graduate Studies for Sociology, Utah State University

  • Former: President of the Rural Sociological Society; Executive director of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources; editor, Society and Natural Resources

Dr. Richard Krannich


Dr. Richard Krannich has a dual appointment at Utah State University: Quinney College of Natural Resources, Department of Environment and Society, and Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology. Dr. Krannich's research focuses on the social implications of natural resource use, development and management, with a primary emphasis on resource and environmental issues affecting nonmetropolitan areas of the Intermountain West region of the United States. His recent professional activities have included service as editor of the journal Society and Natural Resources, as President of the Rural Sociological Society, and as Executive Director of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources.

Joshua P. Fershee, J.D.


  • Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development; Professor of Law, West Virginia University College of Law

  • LL.M. Director, Energy & Sustainable Development Law

  • Center for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization

  • Center for Energy & Sustainable Development

Professor Joshua Fershee joined the faculty at West Virginia University College of Law in fall 2012. His research and scholarship focus primarily on energy law and business law issues. Recent articles have discussed renewable energy programs in the transportation and electricity sectors, climate policy, geothermal energy, and entity governance. His courses include Business Organizations, Energy Law & Policy, and The Energy Business: Law & Strategy. He is also a co-editor of the Business Law Prof Blog and was a contributor to the Agricultural Law Blog.

Lisa McKenzie, PhD, MPH


  • Public health expert, exposure assessment, natural gas development, and air pollution

Dr. Lisa McKenzie is an Assistant Research Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health on the University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus. Her expertise is in exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology. Dr. McKenzie’s research has contributed to the understanding of how air pollutants and other exposures resulting from the unconventional development of petroleum resources may affect the public’s health. Her retrospective cohort study investigating associations between adverse birth outcomes and maternal proximity to natural gas development is one of the first epidemiological studies on this topic to appear in the published literature. 

Dr. Tom Measham is a senior human geographer in the Social and Economic Sciences Program of CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems. Since 1996, he has developed extensive social science research experience including applied and theoretical research on the social dimensions of environmental challenges in regional Australia. His Doctoral research employed qualitative methods to understand sense of place and the ways in which residents develop an understanding of their environment in northern Australia. Since his PhD his research has been concerned with the aspirations, issues and constraints affecting the livelihoods of rural communities, community engagement and the capacity of community groups to conduct natural resource management. His recent work has been focused on the potential for communities to respond to the global drivers affecting the sustainability of rural regions.

  • Research Teams Leader, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University

  • Coordinator, Social and Economic Research Program, Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA)

  • Senior Fellow, Earth System Governance Project

Dr. Thomas Measham


Dr. Janet Stephenson


  • Director, Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago

  • Chair, National Energy Research Institute

  • Chair, The Smart Grid Forum

  • Committee Member, Dunedin City Council’s Sustainability Audit Subcommittee

Dr. Janet Stephenson's research interests include indigenous resource management; the interconnections between people and their local environments; and the role of individuals and organizations in the transition to a sustainable future. Most of her current research applies social science approaches to energy and mobility transitions. Janet has been Director of the Centre for Sustainability since February 2011. Her academic background is in sociology, planning and human geography. She first joined the Centre as a Senior Research Fellow at the end of 2008, having previously taught in the Geography Department at Otago University from 2001-2008.

Dr. Susan Christopherson

March 20, 1947 - December 14, 2016

Former Department Chair, City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

Dr. Susan Christopherson was a geographer committed to the integration of scholarly work and public engagement, known for her scholarship and expertise on regional economic development. 

View her obituary here

More speakers coming soon!


Conference Steering Committee

Julia Haggerty | Co-chair

Rural Geography

Montana State University

Hilary Boudet

Public Policy

Oregon State University

Mike Pasqualetti


Arizona State University

Jeffrey Jacquet | Co-chair

Natural Resource Sociology

The Ohio State University

Kathy Brasier

Rural Sociology

Penn State University

Gene Theodori


Sam Houston State University

John Adgate 

Public Health

University of Colorado Denver

Marie-José Fortin


Université du Québec

Jeremy Weber


University of Pittsburgh