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Energy Justice: A Conceptual Review

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... It not only contributes to the escalation of climate change effects but also is interlinked to various social issues, such as when the phasing out of fossil fuels risks leading to energy poverty and energy security matters [19]. In between tackling these challenges, the concept of energy justice has gained increased attention among social science researchers [20][21][22]. Energy justice provides a framework for advancing a global energy system that prioritizes sustainable, safe, and affordable use of energy resources in all regions worldwide [22]. ...
... In between tackling these challenges, the concept of energy justice has gained increased attention among social science researchers [20][21][22]. Energy justice provides a framework for advancing a global energy system that prioritizes sustainable, safe, and affordable use of energy resources in all regions worldwide [22]. However, the theory of energy justice is not only relevant in fossil fuel phase-out. ...
... In the case of this systematic review, we use the energy justice framework as a mapping tool for energy justice claims in Sweden [20]. Although there are numerous formulations of justice, in this review, we focus on the three most significant dimensions of justice in this context [19,20,22]: distributional, procedural, and recognition justice. Distributional justice focuses on how the benefits and costs generated by energy systems are distributed when it comes to, for example, the siting of energy infrastructure, who gains access to their outputs, and where externalities fall [20]. ...
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The way in which we produce and consume energy has profound implications for our societies. How we configure our energy systems determines not only our chances of successfully dealing with climate change but also, how benefits and burdens of these systems are distributed. In this paper, we set out to map the literature on conflicts related to the energy system in Sweden using a framework of energy justice. The purpose of this exercise is twofold: first, to identify and understand energy conflicts in Sweden through the research that is published; and second, to identify gaps in the literature on energy justice in Sweden. This systematic review builds upon 40 scholarly articles focusing on energy conflicts in Sweden. All articles were written in the time period from January 2010 to January 2021. All articles were published in English in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The papers were analysed using a framework for energy justice that focused on the elements of distributional and procedural justice and recognition justice. The findings of the review suggest that there has been little explicit focus on energy justice in the literature on Sweden's energy system. Issues of distributional justice are most raised and procedural and recognition justice are often conflated in research. While conflicts over hydropower and nuclear have dominated in the past, wind energy in Sami territory is most problematised in the reviewed literature. The understanding of justice in the Swedish energy system is currently missing two elements: a rigorous handling of ecologically unequal exchange and restorative justice.
... Achieving distributional energy justice requires that there is an equitable distribution of a society's technological and environmental risks, harms, and benefits 8 . In our paper, the harms and risks stem from air pollution exposure, and the benefits relate to the reduction of air pollution exposure following power plant retirements. ...
... In our paper, the harms and risks stem from air pollution exposure, and the benefits relate to the reduction of air pollution exposure following power plant retirements. Incorporating key principles from distributional energy justice begin to address the gap in electricity planning models by identifying how the benefits and harms of future energy transitions will be shared across a nation 8,9 . Even if income groups do have equal air quality concentrations, there still lies a disproportionate burden on lower income communities because of historical disadvantages, and less access to healthcare facilities when compared to wealthier communities 10 . ...
... Equitable energy transitions exist at the intersection of technical, economic, and social justice objectives 8,16,[53][54][55][56] . Achieving the goal of an equitable energy transition requires a multi-disciplinary lens to understand who wins and loses in energy transitions. ...
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Energy transitions and decarbonization require rapid changes to a nation’s electricity generation mix. There are many feasible decarbonization pathways for the electricity sector, yet there is vast uncertainty about how these pathways will advance or derail the nation’s energy equality goals. We present a framework for investigating how decarbonization pathways, driven by a least-cost paradigm, will impact air pollution inequality across vulnerable groups (e.g., low-income, minorities) in the US. We find that if no decarbonization policies are implemented, Black and high-poverty communities may be burdened with 0.19–0.22 μg/m3 higher PM2.5 concentrations than the national average during the energy transition. National mandates requiring more than 80% deployment of renewable or low-carbon technologies achieve equality of air pollution concentrations across all demographic groups. Thus, if least-cost optimization capacity expansion models remain the dominant decision-making paradigm, strict low-carbon or renewable energy technology mandates will have the greatest likelihood of achieving national distributional energy equality. Decarbonization is essential to achieving climate goals, but myopic decarbonization policies that ignore co-pollutants may leave Black and high-poverty communities up to 26–34% higher PM2.5 exposure than national averages over the energy transition. Decarbonization is essential to achieving climate goals, but myopic decarbonization policies that ignore co-pollutants may leave Black and high-poverty communities with 26-34% higher PM2.5 exposure over the energy transition.
... Frameworks of environmental justice have informed frameworks of energy justice (e.g., Jenkins et al. 2016, Sovacool et al. 2015. In keeping with liberal philosophical traditions, justice typically connotes fairness. ...
... Energy justice research has covered energy innovations and low carbon technologies as well as established energy systems -where 'the fabric of our economy, and some would argue our political system ('carbon democracy') is dependent upon the plentiful and relatively inexpensive supply of fossil fuels' (Bradshaw, 2010: 276). These include efforts to formulate policy-making tools that account for multiple dimensions of energy justice (Jenkins et al. 2016, Heffron and McCauley, 2018, Williams and Doyon, 2018. ...
... There is no shortage of alternative visions for low carbon energy and there is no singular Think outside the city Policy frameworks are required to address just urban transition within the context of wholesystems energy justice (Jenkins et al., 2016), whereby social and environmental inequalities in energy production, transport and consumption are on an equal footing. This means not focusing solely on urban energy systems and consumption practices, but rather understanding the role of regions, hinterlands, and global connections in producing inequalities and injustice. ...
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This report provides a global synthesis of evidence on justice in transitions to low-carbon energy systems and processes of urbanization. While cities are important sites of energy consumption, analysis of urbanisation offers explanations of how social and spatial injustices are created through the building, fuelling, feeding, and funding of cities. We identify how sustainability transitions can reproduce inequalities – and hence become a potential source of injustice – by highlighting the terms on which transitions are contested, how urban poverty is conceived and measured, how and by whom knowledge about urban change is produced, how cities are planned, how divestment and investment are managed, and how infrastructure is financed. Evidence is presented from Africa, the Asia Pacific, Europe and North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, where the authors have been engaged in projects co-produced with regional research partners. A global agenda on just transitions identifies common and distinctive experiences in different social and spatial contexts. We argue that taking the social and spatial character of transitions seriously means questioning assumptions that underpin the management of transitions, including the strategy of mobilising resources for transitions by maintaining economic power at difference scales from the global to the household.
... Governing transformative change is not a straightforward endeavor. Scholars point out the role of politics of transitions (involving notions of power, agency and democracy, and increasingly also justice considerations) as (1) key in obstructing transformative change through vested interests and power relations, as well as (2) crucial in accelerating transitions in desired directions through implementing sustainable policies and mobilizing citizens and publics (e.g., Meadowcroft, 2011;Avelino, 2021;Avelino and Rotmans, 2009;Jenkins et al. 2016). Hence, it is argued that for instigating transformative change and to address the politics of transitions, governance efforts should embrace pluriform, adaptive, reflexive and experimental approaches that involve a wide variety of stakeholders in developing and implementing transformative innovations and transition policy pathways (Martens, 2006;Scoones et al., 2020;Loorbach et al., 2017). ...
... In recent years, studies have shed light on i.a. 19 • the role of the state in bringing about (un)just transitions (Johnston and Newell, 2018), • the dynamics of conflicts and normative diversities in transition processes (e.g., Cuppen et al., 2019); • the role of capitalist systems in transitions (Feola, 2020); • the politics of deep incumbencies (Stirling, 2019); • transformative agency of change agents in transitions (e.g., De Haan and Rotmans, 2018;Westley et al., 2013;Huttunen et al., 2021); • agency and creativity in the politics of niche experiments (Hoffman and Loeber, 2016); • the political nature of (regime) resistance to transitions (Geels, 2014); • justice considerations of transition governance (e.g., Jenkins et al., 2016;McCauley and Heffron, 2018;Kaljonen et al., 2022); • legitimacy of (democratic) transition governance (De Geus et al., 2022); • policy mixes for accelerating transitions (Rogge and Reichardt, 2016); and, • the political role of non-humans in transitional dynamics (Svenson and Nikoleris, 2018;Rosin et al., 2017;Contesse et al., 2021). ...
... While justice is a contested concept, scholars argue there are many different dimensions of social justice such as (1) distributive justice; (2) procedural justice; (3) recognition justice; and (4) restorative justice (see i.e. Fraser, 1998Fraser, , 2010Jenkins et al., 2016;Kortetmäki, 2016;McCauley and Heffron, 2018). The concept of just transitions is rapidly getting traction in the field, but it "has been tackled more explicitly in the energy transitions stream of literature" (Köhler et al., 2019: 16, cf. ...
... Due to the conduct interdisciplinary studies, it is important to search for common method principles, which will include specific problems concerning current research wor field of energy poverty. A relatively new, cross-sectional concept and programme ceptual research in this field is energy justice [18,19]. Jenkins et al. [18] show that justice provides a new stimulating framework for connecting existing and future re e.g., into energy production and consumption. ...
... A relatively new, cross-sectional concept and programme ceptual research in this field is energy justice [18,19]. Jenkins et al. [18] show that justice provides a new stimulating framework for connecting existing and future re e.g., into energy production and consumption. The most recent literature has p interesting insights into the possibilities for application in economic policy and pl e.g., the connections between the issue of energy justice and the process of energ formation [20]. ...
... Due to the need to conduct interdisciplinary studies, it is important to search for common methodological principles, which will include specific problems concerning current research work in the field of energy poverty. A relatively new, cross-sectional concept and programme of conceptual research in this field is energy justice [18,19]. Jenkins et al. [18] show that energy justice provides a new stimulating framework for connecting existing and future research, e.g., into energy production and consumption. ...
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Study of the literature and personal research experience have resulted in the identification of many challenges in the field of energy poverty, both in terms of social and technical dimensions. The research problems indicated in the paper and the proposed topics for further methodological and analytical work appear to be important not only from the perspective of the categories of energy poverty but also in the contexts of climate change, the ongoing energy transformation and attempts to implement a new energy model based to a large degree on unconventional and renewable sources of energy. This article also contains both methodological and scientific considerations.
... Third, engagement may be driven by a moral obligation to allow those affected by decisions to influence them. Normative rationales may be of intrinsic importance, but are also significant in the context of 'just' transitions (Wesselink et al., 2011;Jenkins et al., 2016;Burke and Stephens, 2017). ...
... As outlined in the introduction, engaging publics in energy system change span instrumental, substantive and normative rationales (Itten et al., 2020;Devine, 2011;Wesselink et al., 2011;Owens and Driffill, 2008;Demski et al., 2015;UK CA, 2020;Jenkins et al., 2016;Burke and Stephens, 2017;Stirling, 2008), which can in turn be related to ideas about people, or rather, the roles played by people in accepting, informing and being impacted by energy system change. Such rationales find significance in the emergence of sociotechnical assemblages, whether relatively simple (e.g. a community wind turbine) or relatively complex (e.g. a SLES). ...
Article
Energy transitions require engagement with users, local communities and wider publics in order to be fair, acceptable and, ultimately, successful. Here we focus on the development of decentralised energy systems instigated by central government. Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES), involving low carbon generation, demand sources and smart technologies in a geographically-bounded location, are important but unexplored contexts for public engagement. Drawing on 23 interviews with partner organisations in 12 UK SLES projects, we investigate the targets, methods and rationales of engagement. Partners engage a range of user and community groups around multiple energy system components using a variety of methods, directly and via intermediary organi-sations. Project size is not a major influence on breadth and intensity of engagement. Project partners rationalise practices with reference to characterisations of users and engagement, and practices are conditioned by a range of factors (e.g. technological boundaries, place, partners involved, and the wider organisational context within which SLES projects take place). We highlight a need for future SLES policy to emphasise engagement as a key facet, institute systematic social learning between SLES projects, and consider how to engage publics beyond the boundaries of individual projects.
... Energy justice thinking connects energy to the social and metabolic relations sustaining current forms of Western modernity and capitalism (Huber, 2013). First, it examines the whole energy systemresource extraction, production, transmission, distribution, consumption, and waste disposal (Jenkins et al., 2016)-to identify where and how injustices occur. It understands energy systems as a spectrum of globally interconnected socio-technical processes that co-produce social and political power-a view mostly absent from traditional socio-technical perspectives (Newell, 2019;Sareen and Haarstad, 2018). ...
... Energy justice must be informed by ethical frameworks of reciprocity and radical reformulations of justice, emancipation, and direct democracy that emerge from these struggles. However, recent assessments of energy justice tend to view energy and energy policy through a universalized and, at times, uncritical perspective linked to modernization, development, and a disregard for the historical and spatial nature of energy systems (e.g., Jenkins et al., 2016;Sovacool et al., 2017;Sovacool et al., 2019;Heffron, 2022). The core tenets of energy justice must be destabilized if the whole-system perspective is to account for the persistence of colonial forms of power, knowledge, and being in the Global South (Temper, 2019). ...
Article
The purpose of the paper is to expand the concept of energy justice by considering the struggles over coloniality and cultural identity in the Global South and their interactions with the spatial and historical development of energy systems and the ongoing forms of energy transitions. The article argues that the current conceptualizations of energy justice cannot be separated from the politics of incumbency as, without a decolonial critique, they tend to reproduce rather than transform hegemonic power relations. To be transformative, energy justice must be articulated from the politics of actually existing unsustainability. In other words, the starting position for energy justice must be that energy injustices are already embedded in existing energy systems and energy policies. Drawing on Latin-American decolonial thought, and the work of political ecologists around energy, this article advocates looking beyond a universalized conception of justice towards an approach where justice is based on a sense of place and is informed by the community’s relationship with the land. Using the concept of energy landscapes, the article puts forth an alternative way of understanding energy systems and conceptualizations of justice in decolonial settings.
... Financial incentives such as differential pricing or fines for utilising more resources than allocated or at an inefficient time can also reduce intrinsic motivation by allowing users to act effectively feel guilt free if the financial cost is not large enough (Promberger and Marteau, 2013;Burson and Harvey, 2019). As fuel poverty increases there is an increasing need to consider the concept of energy justice, which means ensuring that we move towards an energy system that considers both the traditional economic needs of societies but also the environmental issues surrounding climate change and social justice considerations for end users, such as reducing energy poverty (Heffron and McCauley, 2017;Jenkins et al., 2016;Sovacool and Dworkin, 2015). One approach is to instead allow households to borrow energy from neighbors and repay that energy when they are able without a direct financial transaction (Prasad and Dusparic, 2019). ...
... Utilising a system based on social capital represented as 'favours' would also be easy for the average user to understand, facilitating procedural justice and promoting social behavior within the community. As our approach doesn't require all users to generate their own energy, require expensive battery storage or require financial transactions, it is also an approach to community energy systems that minimises the cost to individual households and so also contributes to improved energy justice (Heffron and McCauley, 2017;Jenkins et al., 2016;Sovacool and Dworkin, 2015). ...
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As we move towards an energy system based on renewable energy sources, we need to consider their inflexibility to meet sudden peaks in demand. It is therefore important to reduce the peak load placed on our energy system. For individual households this means spreading out the use of high-powered appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, throughout the day. Traditional approaches to this problem have relied on differential pricing set by a centralised utility company, but this mechanism has not been effective in promoting widespread shifting of appliance usage. Our previous research investigated a decentralised mechanism where agents receive an initial allocation of time-slots to use their appliances, which they can then exchange with other agents. This was found to be an effective approach to reducing the peak load within a community energy system when we introduced social capital, the tracking of favours given and received, in order to incentivise agents to act flexibly by accepting exchanges that do not immediately benefit them. This system encouraged self-interested agents to learn socially beneficial behaviour in order to earn social capital that they could later use to improve their own performance. In this paper we expand this work by implementing real world household appliance usage data in order to ensure that our mechanism could adapt to the challenging demand needs of real households. We also demonstrate how smaller and more diverse populations can optimise more effectively than larger community energy systems and better overcome the challenges of real-world demand peaks.
... Distributive justice is, in part, about access to energy services as well as the siting of physical energy infrastructure [57]. Qandu Qandu has no formal energy grid connections, but high-tension power lines exist near, and run through, the settlement. ...
... We call for further research linking political ecology and energy justice perspectives in the study of renewable energy landscapes in periurban settings. Based on our work, we underscore Jenkins et al.'s [57] findings that procedural justice can be improved through promoting three aspects of inclusion, namely, a) mobilizing local knowledge for just outcomes; b) expanded information disclosure, and c) enhanced representation at the level of different institutions and scales of governance. This will enable scholars and policymakers to move past technical 'problem-solving' approaches from 'elsewhere', and towards more contextually specific entry points that engage with peri-urban communities at different scales. ...
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Most of the global population that lack access to electricity services live in sub-Saharan Africa. Peri-urban areas of large African cities, often characterized by the presence of informal settlements, exist in a kind of ‘scalar limbo,’ unable to benefit from either access to the city grid or from programs aimed at the electrification of rural areas. In addition, in those areas where lack of electricity access is common, energy poverty combined with proximity to the grid leads to a greater likelihood of illegal energy supply arrangements. In this fieldwork-based study, conducted through population surveys and interviews in the peripheries of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Cape Town, South Africa, we employ a hybrid theoretical framework, based on work in urban political ecology and energy justice, to analyze the situation of electricity access in the two areas. We find that the planned scale, scope, and technological design of solar energy projects in peripheral areas are crucial in determining whether and how a project will be beneficial for local communities. This study provides guidance beyond academia to national and international policymakers and executives of renewable energy companies, as well as tools for a more in-depth assessment of energy justice issues.
... Within this, the asymmetrical power relations which exist between groups, and their implications from a policy perspective, is a long established field of energy research. Research fields such as energy poverty (Bouzarovski et al., 2012;Pachauri and Spreng, 2011) and energy justice (Debnath et al., 2020;Jenkins et al., 2016) have explored the effects of these imbalances. An emerging field of research regards the careful contextualization of research to inform "just" policy design (Debnath et al., 2021); in order to ensure that energy policy is sensitive to context and the imbalances which may frame and influence policymaking processes. ...
... Furthermore, energy research has observed that research agendas established in Europe, such as "Just Transitions", have so far neglected investigation of the effects of transitions elsewhere (Sovacool et al., 2020). While the Energy Justice literature (Jenkins et al., 2016) has the potential to engage with these issues, having highlighted embodied energy justice issues across national borders (Castán Broto et al., 2018;Healy et al., 2019) and the phenomenon of "energy bullying" by higher income countries (Monyei et al., 2018), it has not yet substantively engaged in knowledge production imbalances specifically. ...
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Energy research seeking to influence policy in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) is often funded by-and conceptualised by authors in-institutions from higher income countries (HICs). Research agendas and policy recommendations determined in HICs potentially yield the most influence on policymaking in LMICs. This risks leaving a multidimensional gap in how LMICs frame, evidence and enact policies. This paper is the first to provide quantitative evidence to geographical imbalances in energy policy research, and to shed light into the fact that research proposing energy policy coupled with development objectives to LMICs is dominated by HICs researchers. We find that the latter not only publish more articles proposing energy policy to LMICs, but also are more cited when doing so. We reach these findings by analysing the spatial dynamics of energy research on LMICs through a multi-method approach using bibliometric, network science and regression-based techniques. We established a framework using a sample of 6,636 papers from the Web of Science database, journal impact data from Scimago Journal Ranking and country economic data from the World Bank. Results show the existence of a cycle of imbalances across research practices. Most scientific articles recommending energy policy for LMICs have a primary author based in a HIC, funded by a HIC institution. The number of citations articles receive increases with the GDP of the country of primary author. Funders support authors based in countries of the same income band or higher. We recommend revising research practices and funding policies to place local actors and knowledge at the heart of energy policy research, enabling high-impact policymaking in LMICs.
... As highlighted before, the transport and mobility sector is generally attributed a focal role within the implementation and compliance strategies relating to the regulation of AAQ. Naturally, local strategies to combat air pollution are more comprehensive and, indeed, we must suppose that justice norms also play a significant role in sectors such as energy and housing (see Jenkins et al. 2016;Kohlhuber et al. 2006). Nonetheless, in our analysis, we focus on transport and mobility because of the apparently high salience and politicization of justice claims related to localized air quality strategies within this particular sector as compared to other sectors included in the local air quality strategies. ...
... Whereas the mobility sector is the single most important sector implementing the AAQ Directive, the EU norm is also relevant for other sectors. For example, it is likely that similar justice effects also occur in the housing sector (Jenkins et al. 2016). However, in this contribution we were unable to accommodate this perspective. ...
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EU environmental policies such as the Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008/50 are highly relevant in this age of the looming climate crisis and interconnected sustainable transitions. However, implementation efforts such as low-emission zones, road pricing, and driving bans affect citizens in heterogenous situations and in ways that evoke questions of socioecological justice. This has resulted in an increasingly polarized reluctance to respective governance across Europe. The EU policy implementation literature often omits these less clearly operationalized norms that EU policies transport and pays little attention to how stakeholders in cities discursively and practically translate EU directives. Constructivist norm research underlines the importance of ‘localizing’ by highlighting that justice does matter for norm translation. The environmental justice concept has, however, not been systematically introduced and referenced in the norm research literature. This article offers a heuristic to address this research gap by combining a translation perspective from International Relations norm research with an environmental justice lens. Following the journey of the Air Quality Directive 2008/50, we ask how urban implementation configures the Directive’s environmental justice dimension and why this is important for effective and sustainable EU governance. Empirically, we focus on action plans and participation processes regarding Directive 2008/50 in Brussels, Glasgow, and Hamburg. As a result, we show that EU environmental governance unfolds at the local level as a dynamic contestation of different distributive justice claims that then translate into concrete policies. The analysis indicates that those policies must procedurally integrate local knowledge and identity formation to enable comprehensively just sustainable transformations.
... The concept of energy justice has been conceptualized as a framework for the development of a global energy system which fairly disseminates the costs and benefits, is representative in its decision-making and recognizes the perspectives of diverse actors (Sovacool and Dworkin, 2015;Jenkins, McCauley, Heffron, Stephan and Rehner, 2016). The importance of a human-centered approach to energy challenges, and particularly how energy markets may emerge within the principles of the framework, is completely endorsed in this analysis. ...
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Solar lighting has become the primary lighting source for households within rural Malawi, where many households remain off-grid and are unable to afford the purchase of large, independent power systems. However, this success has not been without its challenges. The paradox is that, historically, even the lowest cost systems require an initial investment beyond the means of low-income households, and hence necessitate the use of expensive and exploitative financing options, such as those offered by micro-financial institutions. In this study, we explore in a case-study, how one solar company, Yellow, has overcome this structural inequity by combining three low-cost technologies, namely pay-as-you-go, mobile money (MoMo), and cloud-based services (XaaS), to develop a novel platform, referred to as Ofeefee, which is able to deliver products into a market characterized by a weak retail infrastructure and low purchasing power. The result was better quality lighting at a lower levelized cost than traditional technologies. In so doing, the paper highlights the importance of thinking not just in broad energy access terms but the importance of discriminating between energy and lighting to disaggregate the needs of energy poor communities more appropriately.
... The current energy system, in the US and around the world, is rife with inequities [1]. The coming energy transition to a low carbon world has the potential to right some of these; but, without intention, it is more likely to perpetuate the current inequities [2]. ...
... This form of justice demands, among others, being able to decide as a community, a fair distribution of benefits and burdens, and recognition. To back these demands this discourse bases its demands on ideas of procedural justice, distributive justice and recognition justice (Jenkins et al., 2016;Pesch et al., 2017). ...
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Achieving energy sovereignty is increasingly gaining prominence as a goal in energy politics. The aim of this paper is to provide a conceptual analysis of this principle from an ethics and social justice perspective. We rely on the literature on food sovereignty to identify through a comparative analysis the elements energy sovereignty will most likely demand and thereafter distinguish the unique constituencies of the energy sector. The idea of energy sovereignty embraces a series of values, among which we identified: (i) accessibility, to allow access to everyone, (ii) empowerment and recognition, to develop and sustain capabilities to collaboratively produce solution-oriented energy system knowledge and effectively participate in governance, (iii) stewardship and sustainability, to be able to design and manage decentralised renewable systems in view of protecting the environment, (iv) self-sufficiency, to reduce the negative shocks of exploitative business practises, (v) resilience, to maintain production capacities while withstanding socioeconomic, political, environmental and climatic shocks, (vi) peace, to establish production systems that do not involve hostile relations, (vii) transparency and self-determination, to establish democratic decision-making mechanisms that give a voice to previously underrepresented groups and limit corporate takeover (viii) gender-justice, by acknowledging the contributions of women and eliminate barriers to their empowerment. With a conceptual framework of energy sovereignty, we present a rationale that draws on the key values to be considered when formulating policy solutions for the energy sector.
... Angesichts der politischen Unwägbarkeiten in Bezug auf die soziale Akzeptanz der Energiewende scheint der Erfolg dieser ambitionierten Klimapolitik gefährdet zu sein. Das "Wie" der Energiewende, das im Kontext von prozeduraler sowie distributiver Gerechtigkeit bereits von vielen Seiten beleuchtet wurde (Bickerstaff, 2017;Jenkins et al., 2016) und Fragen der Energiedemokratie (Van Veelen und Van der Horst, 2018), der Energiegerechtigkeit (Bouzarovski und Simcock, 2017) und der Umweltgerechtigkeit (Levenda et al., 2021) in den Fokus sozialwissenschaftlicher Energieforschung gerückt hat, polarisiert nach wie vor. Dies liegt nach unserer Auffassung auch daran, dass die prozedurale Dimension in direktem Zusammenhang mit der bislang wenig bearbeiteten lokalen Dimension steht. ...
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With the Paris Agreement, it was decided to limit global warming to below two degrees. Hence, national governments are currently confronted with the challenge of implementing concrete climate protection measures. This poses a major challenge especially for Germany, as the phase-out of low-emission nuclear energy additionally increases the pressure to rapidly promote the expansion of renewable energies. Unfortunately, there is a great variety of potential regional energy strategies, which differ considerably in terms of landscape implications. Therefore, we analysed the spatial restructuring of energy supply and the associated social conflicts. To do so, we modelled potential regional energy landscapes that can be derived from the two-degree target and visualised them based on Geographical Information Systems by using five scenarios involving changes to the planning guidelines. The analyses reveal that the development of a carbon-neutral energy system is possible. Yet the potential spatial patterns of renewable energies differ considerably. Furthermore, it becomes obvious that spatial planning must take greater account of the perspectives of those social groups facing the installation of renewable energies in the very vicinity of their own living environment.
... We see a clear perspective for an OIE-based framework to fruitfully contribute to research on the energy transition in several areas. These involve studies focusing on the scaling up of technology and the governance model, also involving the multilevel perspective (Geels, 2020), studies on public values and the energy transitions (Correlje et al., 2015;Demski et al., 2015;Ruef & Ejderyan, 2021, studies on energy practices and their relation to value change (Shove & Walker, 2014, Sahakian & Bertho, 2018 and studies on energy justice (Bouzarovski & Simcock, 2017;Jenkins et al., 2016Jenkins et al., , 2018Sovacool & Dworkin, 2015;Sovacool & Dworkin, 2014, Sovacool, et al., 2016. ...
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In this paper, we take inspiration from original institutional economics (OIE) as an approach to study value change within the highly complex assembly of sociotechnical transformations that make up the energy transition. OIE is examined here as a suitable perspective, as it combines Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy and a methodological interactionist perspective on value change, behavior and institutions, with technology figuring as a transformational factor. This combination overcomes conceptual and methodological shortcomings of alternative accounts of values. We will present the contours of an OIE based conceptual framework connecting nature, humans, technology, the economic process, society, culture and institutions and habits, valuation and behavior. We illustrate how to use this framework to examine and understand how environmental, ecologic, safety, economic, and social concerns about the energy transition are (re)framed as (new) values in the belief systems and habits of individuals and groups. Moreover, we will explore how that may give rise to collective action, via the institutionalization of such revised values in the procedures, arrangements, norms and incentives guiding transactions. As such, this approach allows us in a fine-grained manner to conceptually and theoretically understand the way in which values change in the energy-transition, as a complex interaction of technology development and social relations.
... Finally, it is necessary to broaden the conflict-theoretical perspective to include aspects of justice. Recent approaches to energy justice highlight the importance of distributive, procedural and recognition justice in social scientific energy research [91,102,103]. While much research has been done that reflects on financial and procedural participation in the light of distributional and procedural fairness [18,22,26,28,60,62,80,104], a critical perspective that includes aspects of recognition justice and structural injustices is still lacking [105]. ...
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The expansion of renewable energy infrastructure comes with increasing conflicts at local level that significantly impede the expansion of renewable energy in Germany and impact the realization of national and international climate goals. In some conflicts, rural communities are torn apart and social relations strained beyond the energy conflict. Other projects are realized with no or only minor disruption. To researchers, project developers and local politicians alike, it seems unpredictable as to which way local energy conflicts evolve. Thus, the paper aims to shed light on conflict dynamics and identifies a number of aspects that influence local energy conflicts. The paper applies a conflict theoretical perspective on local energy conflicts. Rather than identifying energy conflicts as a sign of dysfunctionality, conflicts are seen as an important element of a democratic society struggling to find the best way through the transformation towards decarbonization. Based on qualitative research on local energy conflicts in five German municipalities the paper analyzes aspects that encourage constructive conflicts and aspects that impede such developments. With reference to Dahrendorf’s conditions of conflict the categories of energy conflicts are systematized within an analytical framework according to conditions of organization, conflict and change. These categories and aspects are embedded in specific local conditions, making conflicts on the one hand typical and on the other very specific. They are also entry points for dealing constructively with the conflicts.
... Based on these transformative heuristics, the environmental justice debate has since expanded to specific dimensions of environmental problems, resulting in concepts such as climate justice, energy justice and water justice (Jenkins et al 2016, Sultana 2018. Environmental justice scholars have drawn on liberal justice theory (Rawls 1971/1991, Fraser 1999, Sen 2009) to develop the concept further. ...
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The global hydrogen transition promises a triple-win scenario of climate, economic and developmental benefits. However, whether the global hydrogen transition will indeed be a just transition is far from certain. The aim of this paper is to develop the concept of hydrogen justice as an analytical toolkit to help examining the multidimensional justice challenges of the global hydrogen transition. Hydrogen justice is rooted in debates on environmental, energy, climate and water justice and incorporates crucial insights from political ecology and decolonial studies. This leads us to a multidimensional conceptualisation of hydrogen justice that includes procedural, distributive, restorative, relational, recognitional and epistemological justice. For a preliminary empirical analysis of hydrogen injustices, we conduct an exploratory mapping of socio-ecological, political and economic conditions in hydrogen target countries and examine emerging hydrogen projects and partnerships. This indicates that justice challenges of export-oriented energy-, water- and land-intensive hydrogen projects are at stake. Hydrogen injustices manifest around issues of energy access in countries with high rates of energy poverty, water access in arid regions, as well as forced displacements, impairments of Indigenous livelihoods and the strengthening of authoritarian rule. We conclude that hydrogen injustices result from the interplay of global hydrogen governance and local conditions in producing countries. Thus, hydrogen injustices are more likely to appear if export-oriented hydrogen strategies target countries with high socio-ecological and political risk profiles. In contrast, a just hydrogen transition would put domestic energy needs first and incorporate justice principles at all scales of hydrogen governance.
... Energy justice provides a means of integrating community benefits in the planning and development of energy projects. It does this through distributive justice (all ills and benefits should be equally distributed), procedural justice (equitable involvement of all stakeholders within a community), and recognition justice (considering community needs and vulnerabilities in relation to development of an energy project) (Banerjee et al., 2017;Jenkins et al., 2016;Sovacool & Dworkin, 2015). This study aims to address a practical application of distributive energy justice, that all ills and benefits of an energy project should be equally distributed within a community that is utilizing the energy, by proposing the development of USS agrivoltaics within county boundaries of MI communities with 100% RE goals. ...
Article
This report aims to assess the potential of agrivoltaics (combined solar and agricultural systems) for development geographically proximate to the six Michigan (MI) communities that have set 100% renewable energy (RE) goals. I focus on one major research question: What is the total acreage of low-impact sites available for utility-scale (USS) agrivoltaics development proximate (within county boundaries) to MI communities with 100% RE goals? SAM is used to estimate land acreage required for a 10 MW agrivoltaic system development. ArcGIS Pro is used to determine the total acreage of low-impact sites proximate to MI communities with 100% RE goals. Proximate low-impact sites are defined as agricultural land with minimal environmental and land use impacts, having access to transmission and distribution infrastructure, and are located within the same county as the community with the RE goal. This study finds that USS agrivoltaics development is possible in all six counties. On the premise that the benefits and ills of an energy technology should be distributed equitably within society regardless of social and economic factors, USS agrivoltaic systems could provide a source of revenue for farmers and promote local employment within the county. In addition, such systems can help support the state of MI to achieve its current RPS of 15% and carbon neutrality by 2050. This report provides a first step in assessing the potential of agrivoltaic development in Michigan, which can inform future work that integrates other considerations relevant to solar development.
... It is estimated that more than 1.5 billion people live without access to electricity and another billion only have access to unreliable electricity, thus living in "energy poverty" that results in unmet basic needs and depressed economic and educational opportunities [66]. However, although the lack of "energy justice" is widely acknowledged [67], and our share in consuming energy may not be equal worldwide, we are all called upon to strive to conserve it in concert for the benefit of the environment and future generations. ...
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Almost a century after its onset, the present era—when human endeavor significantly affects the environment and the future of the Earth’s ecosystem—is now regularly being referred to as the “Anthropocene”. Electric energy is recognized as one of the main forces of change that have contributed to the rise of the human reign. Moreover, its consumption, especially in organizations, is considered responsible for a large part of the greenhouse gas emissions whose curtailment is necessary for the preservation of our climate. This work focuses on turning the spotlight onto the importance of a far-from-exhausted resource in the fight for environmental protection: organizational energy conservation—as exhibited by both the organization and its members individually. Reviewing existing literature, we find that organizational energy conservation is concurrently a matter of environmental sustainability, ethics, and social justice and a matter entwined with crises. Aiming to further guide future research and practice in this field, we discriminate between and provide guidelines for conducting both “hard” (which include facility retrofitting and automation and pose the highest cost in their execution) and “soft” (which include the utilization of IS and/or behavioral interventions and pose a significantly lower cost in their execution) organizational energy-saving interventions.
... In doing so, we draw upon the approach of energy justice, an increasingly popularised framework that strives to reveal the justice dimensions of energy systems transformations. More specifically, energy justice recognizes the socio-technical nature of energy systems through its consideration of not only what the source of injustice is (distributional justice) but also who it affects (justice as recognition) and how, or through which processes (procedural justice) (Jenkins et al., 2016). Wider reflections are also made on the extent to which national political borders can limit the attainment of energy justice. ...
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Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, which has left the European Union under the terms of Brexit. The Republic of Ireland is an EU Member State that has remained within the EU. The island of Ireland operates an all-island energy market, and the impact of Brexit on these complex transboundary energy arrangements has been largely overlooked. This study analyses and assesses the significance of Brexit for Ireland’s all-island energy market so that the complexities underlying these transboundary circumstances, and the Brexit-related factors acting on them, can be better understood. An energy justice framework is employed that emphasises the consideration of potential distributional, recognitional and procedural injustices in this setting, and that assists in drawing out potentially negative impacts of Brexit on the all-island energy market.
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The exploitation of limited energy resources can generate socio-economic inequalities calling for a combination of justice with the socio-technical study of modern energy systems to advance its understanding and remediation. Within this context, this paper uses energy justice and econophysics as theoretical and methodological frameworks to discuss issues of energy poverty in Mexico. The results emerging from this research illustrate that, according to data from 2014, around 61 % of Mexican households suffered from energy poverty due to issues of accessibility or affordability of modern energy services and fuels (with 11.54 % of households facing both types of energy poverty). This paper provides a novel approach that combines advanced quantitative methods based on econophysics, with conceptual frameworks from social sciences like energy justice to discuss issues of energy poverty in Mexico. Furthermore, this research performs an approximation to energy consumption in Mexican households based on monetary expenditure, the heat value of fuels and unit prices during 2014. These methods contribute to the understanding and characterisation of household energy needs and energy consumption in Mexico, reducing the existing gap in the academic literature on the analysis and critical thinking of energy poverty in Global South contexts (specifically in Latin America).
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Onshore wind energy development is often delayed or even prevented by local resistance. Against this backdrop, we discuss financial participation as a measure to promote local acceptance by positively influencing the perceived experience of justice. Building on the concept of energy justice, this paper investigates the extent to which different forms of financial participation are suitable for better distributing costs and benefits, creating opportunities for participation, and examining who can participate financially. In addition to a comprehensive literature review, interviews were conducted with wind turbine planners and operators. These show that stakeholders engage in financial participation to different degrees across different projects and that the preferred form of participation varies from one region to another. Moreover, no model of financial participation appears to be suited to address all dimensions of energy justice, as all models are characterised by certain advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the availability of financial participation options alone is unlikely to increase local acceptance. Such options can, however, be effective when combined with other measures to increase acceptance.
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This study analyzes the role of civil society in China's clean energy transition from the perspective of Confucianism, an influential political-ethical doctrine with over 2000 years of history. An environmental non-governmental organization (ENGO), Friends of Nature (FON), was taken as a case study. FON is a pioneering ENGO in China and has become an influential actor in low-carbon energy transition in the country, primarily through its environmental litigation on energy projects. We argue that FON's legal actions, which focus on the climate and sustainability aspect of energy, are embedded in a Confucian understanding of justice, that is, justice as the pursuit of collective interest rather than the fair treatment of individuals; justice as nature-humanity harmony and the conservation of natural resources for future generation; and justice as an important manifestation of Confucian self-cultivation and a political obligation. This study contributes to the broader energy justice literature by proposing an understanding that goes beyond its Western origin.
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Access to electricity is vital for many basic needs, but it is often unaffordable. Since 2008, there has been an increase in private companies providing electricity access in rural areas through solar minigrids in Tanzania. This paper focuses on the different tariffs used in projects in Tanzania and how they distribute costs. Data were collected over eight months of fieldwork in 2019/2020 from six rural communities through interviews, focus groups, surveys, and directly from minigrid companies. I have found that by private companies treating electricity as an economic good communities experience energy injustices. Under many tariffs poorer households pay more per unit than those with higher incomes. Poorer households are less likely to be able to connect and under some tariffs self-disconnect from their electricity service. Barriers such as lack of participation in project development, high tariffs, and high connection fees limit the benefits of rural electrification.
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The report describes the results obtained in the research activity aimed at increasing stakeholders' involvement in the decision-making process of new infrastructures. Through the adoption of an interdisciplinary approach, recommendations for the improvement of participatory processes were identified. In addition, an in-depth look at the concept of intergenerational justice and energy justice aspects is reported.
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We review over 60 “visioning documents” authored by non-profits and frontline community members in the United States. These visions of energy justice – authored by the actors and communities that have historically organized energy justice programming – are largely absent in the energy justice literature, but they provide guidance on research and policy gaps. This article provides a review and thematic coding of visions for a just energy future, which enables an understanding of how energy justice links to history, policy, and other social movements, and concretizes calls for “place-based”, “frontline-centered”, and “spatially situated” approaches to energy justice. We find that organizations draft visioning documents because of the inherent value of community visioning to build shared political will, to assert their priorities in a policy space that has historically disregarded equity and justice, and to move climate policy in a transformative direction. That so many visioning documents exist suggests the insufficiency of current policy approaches, which are described in visioning documents as deficient in addressing the root causes and economic structures driving climate change. Additionally, we identify 6 principles of a just energy future articulated in these documents: (1) being place-based, (2) addressing the root causes and legacies of inequality, (3) shifting the balance of power in existing forms of energy governance, (4) creating new, cooperative, and participatory systems of energy governance and ownership, (5) adopting a rights-based approach, and (6) rejecting false solutions. We discuss how these principles can advance the energy justice literature and be applied across areas of energy policy intervention and geographies.
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The current fossil fuel reliant global energy system is in rapid transition towards low-carbon energy sources. In the Finnish context, a significant target for emission reduction policies has been the country’s carbon dioxide intensive peat energy sector. As a part of the path towards a climate neutral Finland by 2035, the government has set the aim to halve peat energy use by 2030 and, as a part of these transition policies, the principle of providing a just transition for those deriving their livelihood from peat harvesting has been embraced. However, the use of peat has been declining at a much more rapid pace than anticipated, also jeopardizing the just transition promised for those engaged in the peat industry. In this article, we take a focus on the experiences of those who are deriving their livelihood from peat harvesting and related activities with an interest on how they are experiencing the justness of Finland’s peat policies and the ongoing transition. The experiences of our 400 survey respondents reflect the grave societal, economic and human consequences of the multifaceted failures of Finland’s peat transition policies. The lessons learned from the Finnish peat transition can be utilized in planning and implementing more sustainable policies for other livelihoods facing similar transitions. peat; energy; climate; just transition; Finland
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The need for improved energy security in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Currently, energy security is rather poor, while access to energy is fundamental to socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation. Renewable energy could potentially contribute to resolving this because renewable sources such as solar radiation are more available and sustainable, and can be set up in small generation units, meaning that it is suitable for community management and ownership. In theory, a community energy approach could well apply. In this paper, the main research question is: In what ways can community energy initiatives contribute to increasing the use of renewable energy sources and improving energy security in Nigeria according to selected stakeholders and households? A mixed methods research approach was used to answer this question, with stake-holder interviews and survey data from 124 residents in two case studies of selected housing estates in Lagos. The results show that 58% of the households and most of the stakeholders express support for community renewable energy as a viable approach for increasing energy access and greening energy supply. The present study shows that there is a need to raise awareness and support projects for effective and supportive renewable energy policy to encourage local renewable energy community formation.
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This study analyzes how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered individual perceptions of Internet service providers (ISPs) and Internet importance, reliability, and status as an essential public utility (EPU). The authors found that lower income, younger, women, and racial-ethnic minority participants had lower ISP and Internet reliability perceptions. The pandemic increased perception of Internet as an EPU by 15% and access to in-home Information and Communication technology was significantly related to perceptions of Internet importance and reliability. Significantly, women perceived higher importance of household Internet than men, specifically for education, employment, and telehealth. Additionally, racial-ethnic minorities relied on Internet for entertainment and education more than white participants. The authors provide recommendations for public utility models of Internet, Internet-reliant technology adoption campaigns, and policy that targets sociodemographic/geographic barriers to Internet access.
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Free eprint link: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/GRIXGSSUNSKXIKPCTHWG/full?target=10.1080/14693062.2022.2142499 Abstract: Several streams of research have discussed important aspects of social inequalities and justice in the context of climate, energy, and environmental issues. However, there is often a narrow focus on specific aspects, bearing the risk that tensions and trade-offs for policy are easily overlooked, and sometimes involving a loose, implicit, inconsistent, or uncritical use of the term justice. I argue to clearly separate the empirical analysis of inequalities from their normative assessment, and to adequately consider the large variety of potentially relevant inequalities as well as the variety of justice principles. In support of such an approach, this article suggests categorizations of (1) basic dimensions of social inequality in the context of climate and environment; (2) different social impacts of climate and environmental policies; and (3) different justice principles. The overall aim is to have typologies and an organizing framework at hand that help to systematically identify a broad range of inequalities which can then be discussed against different justice principles. This shall allow a better detection of intersectionality and policy trade-offs as well as broader-based normative judgments in research and in policy assessments (evaluations).
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Focusing on the adoption of rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) by high-income households and businesses in the Western Cape, South Africa, the article analyzes its effects on the hybridization of urban electricity systems and the ability of municipalities to drive a just transition in cities where inequality remains very high. By reducing municipal electricity sales, decentralized solar technologies threaten the surpluses generated from charges paid by grid customers, which are essential to subsidize electricity services for the poor and support other municipal services. Based on fieldwork in four Western Cape cities, the paper shows that municipalities are implementing a variety of local arrangements (regulatory, tariff, and technical) to control distributed electricity generation and are seeking, with mixed success, to avoid a post-carbon transition model that undermines grid benefits by creating a new energy divide.
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A carbon neutral world by 2050. Few would oppose the idea of embedding justice in the energy systems painted in the emerging net zero scenario. However, how does the lofty ideal of justice translate for communities distant from elite centers of knowledge and power? Focusing on women from rural communities in Benin, Senegal, and Togo, this paper applies the double lens of gender and capability to energy justice principles and addresses the following questions: 1) How do these rural women currently experience energy justice principles? And 2) What energy interventions could enhance these women's capabilities in the future? The findings from our field interviews offer a diagnostic of energy justice for rural women, connecting the limited availability and affordability of energy sources to sustainability concerns in a vicious cycle of resource scarcity and impaired capabilities. We then propose interventions to apply justice principles in the local context and argue that operationalizing energy justice requires making gender equity a cross-cutting dimension in the energy justice framework. We contend that building just energy systems by 2050 would be best achieved by focusing on human capabilities, i.e., promoting people's opportunities to live the life they value over allegedly universal energy metrics.
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One of the most relevant acceptance factors of local wind turbines (WTs) are noise emissions. To better understand why some residents experience stress effects from wind turbines a field study with strongly annoyed residents (SAR) was conducted. A convenience sample of residents (N = 148) in the proximity of a wind farm in Germany were interviewed using a standardised questionnaire. Objective features, such as number of visible WTs and distance to the nearest WT, could not explain the experienced noise annoyance substantially. Instead, SAR were characterised by a negative perception of both procedural as well as distributive fairness, the assumed decrease of property value due to the WTs, a negative attitude towards the local wind farm (but not to WTs in general), and higher noise sensitivity. Additionally, SAR reported to be affected daily during the night in their bedrooms, while other residents experience annoying situations more likely when they are directly exposed to WTs. Fast wind speeds, wet weather and, occasionally, frost or fog were associated with annoying situations. In accord with recent research, we recommend to increase consideration of participation and fairness in the initial planning of a wind farm to increase acceptance and reduce annoyance. Additionally, to reduce the fear of negative health impacts and to increase acceptance, mitigation measures depending on specific weather conditions seem to be promising.
Article
Challenges of deploying wind farms on land are often associated with the notion of local acceptance. For developers, however, the socio-material practicalities of identifying appropriate sites and gaining access to land for building large wind farms has become an increasingly challenging endeavour. This paper illustrates how the commodification of wind energy cannot happen without the assetisation of land. Dis-assembling the valuation processes around the entangled wind-and-land assemblage, the paper casts a critical light on how calculative devices have helped to make land and wind into discrete, marketable, assets, accelerating a “landrush” for access to scarce land. The landrush, in turn, has co-produced opaque and clandestine developer practices of acquiring access to privately-owned land to secure a viable investment. The paper argues that these developer practices result in an erosion of the participatory merits of planning and marginalise the role of local host communities, while elevating the significance of private landowners. Based on an assemblage lens founded in Science & Technology Studies (STS) and interviews conducted with a variety of stakeholders in Denmark, the paper concludes by discussing the implications of narrowed public participation in the entangled wind-land assemblage for energy justice. We argue for further inquiries into the assetisation of land for renewables and the associated “sterilisation” of resources in this process, while pointing to the potential for cross-fertilising critical perspectives from human geography with analytical tools from STS for future research.
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This paper discusses transformative research in a community of practice, it is written in the form of a metalogue on our progress to date This iterative dialogue based on face to face meetings and regular virtual meetings. Together we illustrate and map the journey of developing the pathways to wellbeing software into story pathways to support a green circular economy. The metalogue enables weaving together the experiences and diverse ways of knowing whilst we explore the environment of a problem together we builds on the work of Gregory Bateson and his daughter Nora Bateson as well as the wisdom of Indigenous sages and scholars who emphasise the importance of strengthening relationships (in our fields of influence) as the route to human and more than human wellbeing. The research paper is one of several papers which will explore ways to enable participatory design and decision making through an online community of practice. Our “boundary” that we are setting in the paper focused around the building of relationships in which we are involved and which we are expanding (through a myriad of connections and networks) to build circular economic practices in Venda, specifically in relation to protecting sacred sites and being responsive to Mupo. The first author has a website https://www.wirasoftfoundtion.org/en_GB/web/biac-sig/home on which some ideas on circular economies are expressed. Our hope is that the small pilot can be used to demonstrate a way in which community education can be linked with social enterprises that support earning and learning together in ways that foster social and environmental justice.
Article
In this study, we explore Indigenous energy opposition to and acceptance of small hydropower development. In Sápmi (i.e., the traditional homeland of the Indigenous Sámi people), land development poses a major threat to the cultural and material needs of the Sámi people through the loss of pastures essential to Sámi reindeer herding. In contrast to large-scale renewable energy projects such as hydropower, power line and wind power projects, the impact of small hydropower (SHP) development on Indigenous land use has received relatively little attention. We mapped Indigenous opposition to and acceptance of new SHP development in a key region for Sámi reindeer herding in northern Norway from 2010 to 2018. Our results show how the proliferation of SHPs on reindeer pastures caused concern among Sámi reindeer owners and their representatives, who devoted considerable resources to participating in and opposing new SHPs through public hearing processes. In many cases, other actors, such as environmental interests, also opposed. Nevertheless, most cases opposed by Indigenous representatives were licensed (59 %). Considering our results and given the potential for and interest in expanding renewable energy, Indigenous opposition to SHP development warrants greater attention. Our approach provides a larger-scale, larger-N, quantitative view of opposition to SHP development that can complement more qualitative and in-depth approaches.
Article
Decarbonizing society will require a shift toward renewable electricity production. However, the temporal configuration of renewables requires that demand adapt accordingly. Introducing intermittent electricity production will thus require end users to be more flexible in their use of electricity. Flexibility capital has been promoted as a concept for analyzing material preconditions in order to understand how providing flexibility might interfere with the daily life of the users. However, this concept focuses mainly on (im)material resources, while the social and temporal factors of society that also mediate flexibility have been less emphasized. The aim of this study is thus twofold: 1) to summarize all research published thus far on flexibility capital, and 2) to reconceptualize the concept by integrating aspects of socio-temporal configuration. The result is a more nuanced concept of flexibility capital that considers the role of both (im)material resources and social and temporal factors, such as norms, conventions, shared space, others, and bodily needs. Conceptualizing flexibility capacity as capital directs attention to a number of social implications. First, it highlights how the uneven material distribution in society may amplify social inequalities within the energy sector. Secondly, it questions whether electricity uses are inherently flexible under the current socio-temporal configuration of society. Thirdly, it warns that organizing the operation of energy systems around end user flexibility renders the users a commodity instead of giving them agency. These insights contribute to the field of energy justice by showing how flexible energy use can be evaluated according to the energy justice principles.
Book
This book evaluates off-grid solar electrification in Africa by examining how political, economic, institutional, and social forces shape the adoption of off-grid solar technologies, including how energy injustices are manifested at different levels and spaces. The book takes a historical, contemporary, and projective outlook using case studies from pre- and ongoing electrification communities in non-Western countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Malawi, Tanzania, and Nigeria. Beyond the diverse nature of these countries in terms of their geographical location in West, East, and Southern Africa, each offers a different experience in terms of colonial history, economic and institutional infrastructure, social and cultural context, and level of adoption of off-grid solar technologies. Notably, the book contributes to the off-grid solar and energy justice scholarship in low-income non-Western contexts. It examines various approaches to energy justice and does so by engaging with Western and non-Western philosophical notions of the concept. It takes into consideration the major principles of Ubuntu philosophy with the adoption of off-grid solar technologies, hence enriching the energy justice framework. The book interrogates the degree to which the social mission that catalysed the expansion of the off-grid solar sector is being undermined by broader structural dynamics of the capital investment upon which it is reliant. It also argues that the ascendance of off-grid solar electrification in Africa is transformative in that it enables millions of people without access to or facing uncertainties linked to centralised grid energy to have access to basic energy services.
Article
In the global context of rapidly developing wind-power technology, local governments have to balance local interests with larger scale targets when implementing national and international strategies. An implication of a new Swedish national strategy for wind-power development is considerable intrusion into natural resource-rich northern landscapes, where municipalities already strive to manage diverse surface demanding and legally valued land-use interests. Municipalities will thus play a key role in wind-power development. Results of our survey suggest that most municipalities have functioning wind-power plans, linked to their municipal comprehensive planning (MCP). However, so far, relatively few wind-power farms have been established, and municipalities have rarely used their right to veto, suggesting that most have not yet experienced significant problems linked to wind-power development. The municipalities rely on their right to veto, and only a third highlighted planning as a tool for handling the increasing demand for wind-power developments. Legislative changes regarding the right to veto and the status of MCP could affect local self-government considerably. Wind-power development could have major consequences for local landscapes and governments, and a municipal-wide policy regarding future wind-power development and MCP as a mediating tool must be secured to balance local interests with national ambitions.
Chapter
This chapter compares and contrasts the various case studies examined in this book, and the exercise brings to the fore similarities and differences with regard to transmission mechanisms for off-grid solar electrification policy and application of energy justice theorizing. The final segment of the chapter reflects on the renewable energy sector, with a particular focus on off-grid solar electrification. It critically interrogates the notion that the ascendance of off-grid solar electrification in Africa is ‘transformative’. It argues that Africa’s renewable energy economies are integrated into the global renewable energy economy in a manner that reproduces structural dependence, rather than fostering structural transformation. It brings to the fore multiple forms of dispossessions which are often overlooked in the renewable energy literature.
Chapter
After decades of slow grid expansion, the Malawian State is placing significant reliance on the off-grid solar market to achieve universal access to energy services. Seeking to emulate the path of regional nations such as Kenya and Tanzania, the State has enacted market-friendly policy settings and set ambitious targets for off-grid solar adoption as evidenced in the 2017 Malawi Renewable Energy Strategy. In this chapter, we critically examine this shift in responsibility for energy provision from the State towards households. In particular, we examine the justice implications of the commoditization of electricity as reflected in a two-tiered off-grid solar market—comprised of both certified and uncertified products. We detail how end-users experience these two tiers in terms of issues of affordability and quality, consumer literacy and protection, as well as repair and disposal. While recognizing the limitations of a market-based approach to addressing energy poverty, the chapter concludes with recommendations that could help Malawi’s off-grid solar market deliver more just and sustainable outcomes for underserved populations.
Chapter
Off-grid solar photovoltaic technology, especially solar home systems, has been gaining popularity as a viable channel for tackling the problem of energy access in Africa. The upbeat and mobilizing narratives surrounding the use of this off-grid solar technology often obscures the multiple injustices which are noticeable in their inner workings. This chapter offers a critical review of the diverse injustices linked to the use of solar home systems in Africa. I highlight distributional, recognition and procedural injustices with regards to energy access. I equally show entanglement of key principles of Ubuntu with the adoption of solar home systems. Injustices and violations of Ubuntu principles are manifested at various levels and spaces, including within households. Injustices cannot be ignored, especially when claims about ‘just transition’ are evoked.
Chapter
This chapter examines the role of public policies in the organization of the off-grid electrification market in Senegal. It focuses on the last two decades (1998–2021), during which successive proactive policies have resulted in one of the largest mini-grid portfolios in Sub-Saharan Africa, to which can be added the thousands of individual solar solutions provided by public or private suppliers. The chapter examines how the negotiated implementation of market-based reforms has led to the coexistence of policies and counter-policies, resulting in a territorial patchwork in the supply of electricity services. It describes these plural landscapes of rural, off-grid electrification involving a diversity of actors: transnational and local small- and medium-size enterprises, alongside the national electricity leader, Société Nationale d’Électricité du Sénégal (Senelec). It shows how the politics of off-grid electrification in Senegal raise issues of energy justice in different ways, including political controversies concerning the implementation of neo-liberal reforms, power asymmetries between energy suppliers resulting from market regulations, and territorial and social disparities in terms of price and service quality. Finally, the chapter considers how energy justice issues have recently been put on the agenda of public authorities and given rise to new forms of regulation.
Chapter
Off-grid solar technologies, that is those solar energy technologies which function outside the centralized grid such as lanterns, pico-systems, solar home systems, micro- or mini-grids, are increasingly being used in Africa to help reduce the electricity access gap as well as deal with the limitations of the national grid. After over a decade of the growth of the off-grid solar sector in the continent, the time is ripe to take stock of the sector. This book does so by examining how political, economic, institutional, and social forces shape the adoption of off-grid solar technologies in Africa, including how injustices linked to off-grid solar electrification are manifested at different levels and spaces. Opening the edited volume, this chapter begins by giving context of energy access in the continent. This is followed by a conceptualization of energy justice, which draws on Western and non-Western perspectives. I then show how different chapters contribute to the purpose of this volume in three parts: history and politics of off-grid solar electrification, manifestations of energy injustices, and enabling uptake. Based on discussions in the various chapters, I position the book as one that contributes to the off-grid solar and energy justice scholarship in low-income non-western contexts.
Article
In this paper we analyse how in Europe large-scale deployment of CO2 capture and storage (CCS) technology may be hindered by limited public acceptance. We develop scenarios for how public acceptance may constrain the diffusion of CCS, either by reducing the overall amount of installable CCS capacity or by delaying its introduction, and show with an integrated assessment model how the type of limitation in CCS acceptance can critically impact the development of all sectors in the overall energy system over time. We also demonstrate that a reduction or delay in CCS diffusion as a result of critical public opinion can have substantial energy system impacts that differ across not only the nature of acceptance profile but also the sector(s) in which limited public acceptance materializes. Applying a constraint to CCS deployment in both industry and the power sector simultaneously leads to an energy system that is fundamentally different from the one that emerges if the constraint is only applied to the power sector. Depending on how and where CCS diffusion is constrained, net additional annual energy system costs in 2050 can vary between -50 billion up to nearly 800 billon $/yr.
Article
Fuel cells and other hydrogen‐based technologies are increasingly seen as a key pillar of global decarbonization efforts. A major challenge to be overcome is the future availability of large quantities of affordable green hydrogen to supply the envisioned hydrogen economy. Several industrialized countries have formulated ambitious national hydrogen strategies that rely heavily on importing green hydrogen from other countries, including countries in the Global South that are rich in renewable energy. This paper is based on an extensive literature review and policy analysis. It provides the first structured overview of existing and emerging North–South green hydrogen partnerships and analyzes them through the lens of energy justice theory. The findings show that international collaboration has increased significantly in recent years, with a clear focus on Brazil, Egypt, India, and Morocco. Partnerships are led by both government and private sector actors and mainly take the form of pilot projects, feasibility studies, and scientific collaboration. The paper also points out that existing partnerships have several shortcomings, such as the lack of sociopolitical considerations and the dominance of donor economic priorities over sustainable development in partner countries. Finally, the paper discusses how an energy justice perspective could help improve future partnership approaches to achieve the twin goals of global climate change mitigation and sustainable development in the Global South.
Article
Energy Communities are playing an ever greater role in the European renewable energy transition. As an instrument for citizen-led transformation, they are associated not only with economic and environmental, but also with social benefits. However, it is unclear whether Energy Communities in Europe deliver on the positive social impact they promise. In this paper, we analyze the conceptual background of the social impact associated with Energy Communities and clarify the underlying constructs of community empowerment, social capital, energy democracy and energy justice. We conduct a systematic literature review and develop an overview of studies which measured social impact. Through classifying evidence along methods and constructs measured in an evidence gap map, we demonstrate where rigorous evidence is missing: from quantitative and experimental studies, and longitudinal and counterfactual designs, which should guide future research. We conclude with recommendations for both research and policy to promote the collection of robust evidence on the social impact of Energy Communities in Europe.
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Energy justice has recently emerged as a new crosscutting social science research agenda. In this chapter, its core tenets are explored: distributional justice, procedural justice, and justice as recognition. Using a case study approach of nuclear waste in Canada, nuclear reactors in the UK, and uranium mines in Australia, the manifestations of energy justice in practice are illustrated from a political economy perspective through analysing the nuclear energy sector. This focus allows us to identify both winners and losers with regard to energy justice throughout the nuclear energy system. Through promoting the application of this triple-pronged approach across the energy system and within the global context of energy production and consumption, recommendations for its operationalisation are advanced. Of significance, the political economy focus highlights the key areas for conflicts and trade-offs amongst the core tenets of energy justice as the concept makes policy ground.
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Recent quantitative and qualitative evidence documents a dramatic reduction in average direct UK household energy consumption in the last decade. The ‘fuel poverty gap’ in the UK (average shortfall that fuel poor households experience in affording their energy bills) has also grown substantially in that period. Here we draw on the literature on vulnerability and on recent qualitative interviews with fuel poor households to characterise the experience of energy vulnerability in the UK. Using our qualitative data, we explore energy vulnerability from the point of view of our interviewees. In doing so we identify six challenges to energy vulnerability for the fuel poor: quality of dwelling fabric, energy costs and supply issues, stability of household income, tenancy relations, social relations within the household and outside, and ill health. In analysing these challenges we find that the energy vulnerable have limited agency to reduce their own vulnerability. Further, current UK policy relating to fuel poverty does not take full account of these challenges. Any attempt to address energy vulnerability coherently in the future must engage with structural forces (policies, markets, and recognition) in order to increase household agency for change.
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UK energy policy contains ambitious goals for increased deployment of renewable energy technologies (RETs), but concern remains about the potential of local opposition to obstruct proposed developments. Despite emerging academic consensus that characterizing opposition to RET siting as NIMBYism is problematic, the discourse remains strong in popular debate. This article responds to calls for sociological research on both ascriptions of NIMBYism and the use of deficit models. Through an analysis of interviews with key actors in the renewable energy industry, we explore the ways in which a discourse of NIMBYism is evident in their descriptions of local wind farm opponents. We conceptualize this discourse as embodying an array of deficit models of the public and public knowledge. This is significant not only because developers' constructions of publics inform their modes of engagement with them, but also because they may influence public responses themselves.
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This paper provides an overview of methodologies used for quantitative evaluations of security of supply. The studied material is mainly based on peer-reviewed articles and the methodologies are classified according to which stage in the supply chain their main focus is directed to, as well as their scientific background. Our overview shows that a broad variety of approaches is used, but that there are still some important gaps, especially if the aim is to study energy security in a future-oriented way. First, there is a need to better understand how sources of insecurity can develop over time and how they are affected by the development of the energy system. Second, the current tendency to study the security of supply for each energy carrier separately needs to be complemented by comparisons of different energy carrier's supply chains. Finally, the mainly static perspective on system structure should be complemented with perspectives that to a greater extent take the systems' adaptive capacity and transformability into account, as factors with a potential to reduce the systems vulnerabilities. Furthermore, it may be beneficial to use methodological combinations, conduct more thorough sensitivity analysis and alter the mind-set from securing energy flows to securing energy services.
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The Climate Change Act 2008 commits the UK to reducing carbon emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. With household emissions constituting more than a quarter of current total energy use in the UK, energy practices in the home have taken on increased policy attention. In this paper, we argue that the UK government's approach is founded upon a variant of methodological individualism that assumes that providing greater energy information to individuals will effect behaviour change in relation to energy use. Such an approach is potentially limited in its effectiveness and does not afford appropriate recognition to all those affected by energy policy. In contrast to this approach, we set out an alternative perspective, a community knowledge networks approach to energy and justice which recognises the contexts and relationships in which people live and use energy. Such an approach emphasises situated knowledge and practices in order to gain a greater understanding of how individuals and communities use energy, but, importantly, offers a means for affording greater recognitional justice to different social groups.
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Geographic studies of environmental racism have focused on the spatial relationships between environmental hazards and community demographics in order to determine if inequity exists. Conspicuously absent within this literature, however, is any substantive discussion of racism. This paper seeks to address this shortcoming in two ways. I first investigate how racism is understood and expressed in the literature. I argue that although racism is rarely explicitly discussed, a normative conceptualization of racism informs the research. Not only is this prevailing conception overly narrow and restrictive, it also denies the spatiality of racism. Consequently, my second goal is to demonstrate how various forms of racism contribute to environmental racism. In addition to conventional understandings of racism, I emphasize white privilege, a highly structural and spatial form of racism. Using Los Angeles as a case study, I examine how whites have secured relatively cleaner environments by moving away from older industrial cores via suburbanization. I suggest that the historical processes of suburbanization and decentralization are instances of white privilege and have contributed to contemporary patterns of environmental racism. Thus, in addition to interpreting racism as discriminatory facility siting and malicious intent, I also examine a less conscious but hegemonic form of racism, white privilege. Such an approach not only allows us to appreciate the range of racisms that shape the urban landscape, but also illuminates the functional relationships between places—in particular between industrial zones and residential suburbs, and how their development reflects and reproduces a particular racist formation.
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This article uses social movement theory to analyze environmental justice rhetoric. It argues that the environmental justice frame is a master frame that uses discourses about injustice as an effective mobilizing tool. The article identifies an environmental justice paradigm and compares it with the new environmental paradigm. In addition, the article discusses why the environmental justice movement grew so fast and why its adherents find the environmental justice frame so appealing. During the past decade, environmental justice thought has emerged as a major part of the environmental discourse. Though much has been written on the envi- ronmental justice movement (EJM), attention is focused on case studies, analyz- ing the spatial distribution of environmental hazards, and examining policy for- mulation. Despite the fact that the EJM has had profound effects on environmental research, policy making, and the environmental movement, little attention has been paid to the ideological foundations of the EJM. In essence, Why did this discourse and movement arise now? What are its antecedents? What are its underlying principles, and how are these related to the dominant environmental discourse? This article argues that environmental justice thought represents a new paradigm—the environmental justice paradigm (EJP). The article analyzes the rise of the EJP. First, it examines the social construction of environmental problems, and then it traces the development of the major envi- ronmental paradigms, showing how the EJP evolved out of these and other bod- ies of thought. The article also examines the new dimensions of environmental thought that the EJP introduces and how the paradigm is changing the environ- mental discourse. This article will help us understand how and why the EJP arose, and why it has had such a significant impact on the environmental move- ment in such a short time. The article views paradigms as social constructions; that is, they are ideological packages expressing bodies of thought that change over time and according to the actors developing the paradigms.
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The purpose of this essay is twofold. First, I examine interdisciplinary literature to reveal the environmental injustices associated with the front and back ends of nuclear power production in the USA – Uranium mining and high-level nuclear waste (HLW) storage. Second, I argue that the injustices associated with nuclear power are upheld, in part, through discourse. This essay examines how the term “wasteland” is invoked in relation to HLW waste storage in the USA and contributes to the discursive formation of nuclear colonialism. Examination of this discourse not only contributes to current literature on nuclear colonialism but also to environmental justice research by arguing for the importance of examining the discursive aspects of environmental injustices. Further, the essay adds to current scholarship in energy justice by highlighting the environmental injustices associated with nuclear power.
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Since its publication in the early 90s, Brenda Boardman's Fuel Poverty has been the reference text for those wishing to learn about this complex subject. In this, its successor, she turns a critical eye to the new millennium and finds that the situation, while now more widely recognised, is far from having improved. The book begins by discussing the political awakening to the issue and exploring just who constitutes the fuel poor. It examines the factors that contribute to fuel poverty - low incomes, high fuel prices and poor quality housing - and looks at and evaluates the policies that have been employed to help reduce the problem. The latter part presents a detailed set of proposals based around long-term improvements in the housing stock that must be employed if we are to avoid a dire situation continuing to get worse. Based on detailed analysis of the situation in the UK, the growth of fuel poverty (sometimes called energy poverty) in other countries and the new focus in European policy makes the book timely and provides important lessons for those who now have to produce policies to tackle the issues.
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Concepts of justice are now routinely mobilised in environmental and climate change activism, with movements for environmental and climate justice emerging around the world. More recently, the concept of energy justice has gained prominence, most frequently framed in terms of access to affordable energy and fuel poverty but also related to the politics of energy infrastructures. To date however, there has been little critical interrogation of energy justice in relation to actions undertaken by activist and advocacy movements. In this paper, we set out an analysis of the concept of 'energy justice' from the perspective of framing. Drawing on research with organisations in Philadelphia, Paris and Berlin, the paper explores the articulation and elaboration of an energy justice frame. In so doing, it explores how such actors strategically frame their interpretation of energy justice, considers the overall emergence of an energy justice frame, and draws out an agenda for future research.
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Energy justice advances energy policy with cosmopolitanism and new economic-thinking. An Energy Justice Metric is developed and captures the dynamics of energy justice. The Energy Justice Metric (EJM) compares countries, and energy infrastructure. EJM provides an energy policy decision-making tool that is just and equitable. a b s t r a c t Carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase to the detriment of society in many forms. One of the difficulties faced is the imbalance between the competing aims of economics, politics and the environment which form the trilemma of energy policy. This article advances that this energy trilemma can be resolved through energy justice. Energy justice develops the debate on energy policy to one that highlights cosmopolitanism, progresses thinking beyond economics and incorporates a new futuristic perspective. To capture these dynamics of energy justice, this research developed an Energy Justice Metric (EJM) that involves the calculation of several metrics: (1) a country (national) EJM; (2) an EJM for different energy infrastructure; and (3) an EJM which is incorporated into economic models that derive costs for energy infrastructure projects. An EJM is modeled for China, the European Union and the United States, and for different energy infrastructure in the United Kingdom. The EJM is plotted on a Ternary Phase Diagram which is used in the sciences for analyzing the relationship (trilemma) of three forms of matter. The development of an EJM can provide a tool for decision-making on energy policy and one that solves the energy trilemma with a just and equitable approach.
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The current energy justice framework considers distributional, procedural and recognition tenets. The full extent and diversity of justice implications within the energy system, however, is currently neglected, as many debates on energy do not consider the impact of the energy system in full, from resource extraction to waste disposal. This article makes the case for a reconceptualisation of energy justice that includes a systems perspective at its core using the example of fuel poverty. Systems theory typically considers a set of subsystems that coordinate to accomplish defined goals, in this case, energy production. This 'interactionist' understanding focuses on the impacts of the relationships between the governors and the governed, and the moments at which there is the possibility to intervene and steer the system. It contains the idea that – by bringing greater awareness of human needs and actions – it is possible to improve the system overall. This reconceptualisation thus contributes to the theoretical concept of energy justice, as well as informing justice in practice.
Article
Energy security has been an actively studied area in recent years. Various facets have been covered in the literature. Based on a survey of 104 studies from 2001 to June 2014, this paper reports the findings on the following: energy security definitions, changes in the themes of these definitions, energy security indexes, specific focused areas and methodological issues in the construction of these indexes, and energy security in the wider context of national energy policy. It is found that the definition of energy security is contextual and dynamic in nature. The scope of energy security has also expanded, with a growing emphasis on dimensions such as environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. Significant differences among studies are observed in the way in which energy security indexes are framed and constructed. These variations introduce challenges in comparing the findings among studies. Based on these findings, recommendations on studying energy security and the construction of energy security indexes are presented.
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Hardly a day passes without the media discovering some community or neighborhood fighting a landfill, incinerator, chemical plant, or some other polluting industry. This was not always the case. Just three decades ago, the concept of environmental justice had not registered on the radar screens of environmental, civil rights, or social justice groups. 1 Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Memphis in 1968 on an environmental and economic justice mission for the striking black garbage workers. The strikers were demanding equal pay and better work conditions. Of course, Dr. King was assassinated before he could complete his mission. Another landmark garbage dispute took place a decade later in Houston, when African American homeowners in 1979 began a bitter fight to keep a sanitary landfill out of their suburban middle-income neighborhood. 2 Residents formed the Northeast Community Action Group or NECAG. NECAG and their attorney, Linda McKeever Bullard, filed a class action lawsuit to block the facility from being built. The 1979 lawsuit, Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management, Inc., was the first of its kind to challenge the siting of a waste facility under civil rights law. The landmark Houston case occurred three years before the environmental justice movement was catapulted into the national limelight in the rural and mostly African American Warren County, North Carolina. The environmental justice movement has come a long way since its humble beginning in Warren County, North Carolina where a PCB landfill ignited protests and over 500 arrests. The Warren County protests provided the impetus for an U.S. General Accounting Office study, Siting of Hazardous Waste Landfills and Their Correlation with Racial and Economic Status of Surrounding Communities. 3 That study revealed that three out of four of the off-site, commercial hazardous waste landfills in Region 4 (which comprises eight states in the South) happen to be located in predominantly African-American communities, although African-Americans made up only 20% of the region's population. More important, the protesters put "environmental racism" on the map. Fifteen years later, the state of North Carolina is required to spend over $25 million to cleanup and detoxify the Warren County PCB landfill.
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The environmental justice movement has highlighted not only the unequal distribution of environmental hazards across lines of race and class, but also the white, middle-class nature of some environmentalisms, and broader patterns of marginalization underlying people's opportunities to participate or not. There is a significant body of work discussing Hispanic environmental justice activism in the US, but not in Canada. This paper draws on interviews with representatives of organizations working on environmental initiatives within the Hispanic population of Toronto, Canada to explore definitions of and approaches to environmentalism(s) and community engagement. Four interrelated “mechanisms of exclusion” are identified in this case study—economic marginalization; (in)accessibility of typical avenues of participation; narrow definitions of “environmentalism” among environmental organizations; and the perceived whiteness of the environmental movement. Taken together, these mechanisms were perceived as limiting factors to environmental activism in Toronto's Hispanic population. We conclude that the unique context of Toronto's Hispanic community, including contested definitions of “community” itself, presents both challenges and opportunities for a more inclusive environmentalism, and argue for the value of “recognition” and “environmental racialization” frameworks in understanding environmental injustice in Canada.
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Whilst increasing mobility leads to people regularly experiencing new climatic conditions, understanding how people actually adapt to new regimes of heat in their everyday lives is currently under researched. It is often assumed that increased demand for air conditioning will be an automatic response to heat, but widespread international variation in the current use of cooling technologies suggests a more complex situation. As one means of exploring how thermal comfort is achieved under different climatic conditions, this paper reports on the findings of a pilot study exploring adaptive practices in relation to heat with people who have recently migrated to Spain. The paper explores how thermal comfort is accomplished through adaptation in everyday activities including cooling technologies, clothing and routines and rhythms. The paper emphasises the importance of attending to how new routines emerge in the context of relocation and highlights a need for further research to understand how changing climatic conditions may serve to reconfigure the production of comfort.
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Community-based renewable energy could help in achieving energy targets and altering energy behaviours. It has been found in other studies that the extent to which local residents are involved in a scheme, either through ownership or active participation, can be the key to acceptance and increasing energy awareness. Here, we explore motivations and barriers to involvement with residents in three communities in Cumbria, UK. The study uses questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to explore themes of ownership, levels of involvement and community cohesion, and examines how these influence residents’ willingness to accept or participate in a local initiative. Through exploring these themes we additionally find that residents hold place-based attachments to both physical attributes and social interactions within the community. These attachments appear to be influential in residents' willingness to participate in local renewable projects and in acceptance of certain renewable technologies. For instance, there was overwhelming support for localised hydropower due to the historical legacy of industrialised water-power use in the region.
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This paper takes a first step in comparing and synthesising the emerging concept of energy justice with extant ethical consumption literatures as two complementary theoretical approaches to ethics and consumption. To date, theories of ethical consumption and energy justice remain somewhat disconnected, so while they have some areas of potential comparability, these have not yet been fleshed out or developed. To address this lacuna, this paper explores areas where research into ethical consumption might be useful for furthering concepts of energy justice. More specifically the discussion draws on the philosophical foundations, the relationship between consumption and development, and the role of transparency and visibility in reconnecting consumption and production practices as the main areas of overlap in these literatures. The conclusion points to some lessons for emerging energy justice literatures that can be drawn from this task of comparison and synthesis.
Article
This paper reflects on two controversial resource projects – the Bellanaboy gas refinery (Ireland) and the Barvas Moor wind farm (Scotland) – and critical arguments made by key local actors. Although risk, health, environment and development dominated the official decision-making processes, these actors articulated views which cut across or existed beyond such orthodox ideas and framings. Focusing on these, I show that the Gaelic concepts of dùthchas and deoraíocht, summarised as place and exile, help to explain why some residents decided to protest. This paper illustrates the role that history, culture and language can play in conflicts, emphasises the need for greater sensitivity to these and suggests that place and exile can inform alternative visions of sustainability.
Article
Our widely cited 2005 explanatory framework for considering public responses to wind farm developments distinguished two gaps: a ‘social gap’ between the high support for wind energy reported in surveys and the low success rate for wind farm applications; and an ‘individual gap’ whereby an individual supports wind energy in general but opposes a local wind farm (NIMBYism). The popular assumption that NIMBYism was the only explanation for the ‘social gap’ was contested. Instead, three explanations of the social gap were provided – democratic deficit, qualified support, and NIMBYism – and a range of different policy responses was suggested. This analysis is re-visited in order to take account of the theoretical and empirical developments since its publication. The original explanatory framework is expanded and revised and new conclusions are drawn about the likely causes of the ‘social gap’.
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Smart energy grids and smart meters are commonly expected to promote more sustainable ways of living. This paper presents a conceptual framework for analysing the different ways in which smart grid developments shape – and are shaped by – the everyday lives of residents. Drawing upon theories of social practices and the concept of informational governance, the framework discerns three categories of ‘information flows’: flows between household-members, flows between households and energy service providers, and flows between local and distant households. Based on interviews with Dutch stakeholders and observations at workshops we examine, for all three information flows, the changes in domestic energy practices and the social relations they help to create. The analysis reveals that new information flows may not produce more sustainable practices in linear and predictable ways. Instead, changes are contextual and emergent. Second, new possibilities for information sharing between households open up a terrain for new practices. Third, information flows affect social relationships in ways as illustrated by the debates on consumer privacy in the Netherlands. An exclusive focus on privacy, however, deviates attention from opportunities for information disclosure by energy providers, and from the significance of transparency issues in redefining relationships both within and between households.
Article
It is often argued that fossil fuel subsidies hamper the transition towards a sustainable energy supply as they incentivize wasteful consumption. We assess implications of a subsidy phase-out for the mitigation of climate change and the low-carbon transformation of the energy system, using the global energy–economy model REMIND. We compare our results with those obtained by the International Energy Agency (based on the World Energy Model) and by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD-Model ENV-Linkages), providing the long-term perspective of an intertemporal optimization model. The results are analyzed in the two dimensions of subsidy phase-out and climate policy scenarios. We confirm short-term benefits of phasing-out fossil fuel subsidies as found in prior studies. However, these benefits are only sustained to a small extent in the long term, if dedicated climate policies are weak or nonexistent. Most remarkably we find that a removal of fossil fuel subsidies, if not complemented by other policies, can slow down a global transition towards a renewable based energy system. The reason is that world market prices for fossil fuels may drop due to a removal of subsidies. Thus, low carbon alternatives would encounter comparative disadvantages.
Article
In this paper, I use the resilience framework to interpret the project of transforming the German energy system into a renewable energy sources (RES)-based system, the so-called Energiewende, as a regime shift. This regime shift comprises several transformations, which are currently altering the technological, political and economic system structure. To build my argument, I first sketch how technological, political and economic developments reduced the resilience of the conventional fossil-nuclear energy regime and created a new RES-regime. Second, I depict recent changes in German public discourse and energy policy as the shift to the RES-regime. Third, I highlight the challenges involved with increasing the resilience of the RES-regime. In particular, sufficient resilience of the electricity transmission grid appears to be crucial for facilitating the transformation of the whole energy system.
Article
This paper advances the application of the methodology, contrast explanation, to energy policy research. Research in energy policy is complex and often involves inter-disciplinary work, which traditional economic methodologies fail to capture. Consequently, the more encompassing methodology of contrast explanation is assessed and its use in other social science disciplines explored in brief. It is then applied to an energy policy research topic—in this case, nuclear energy policy research in the UK. Contrast explanation facilitates research into policy and decision-making processes in energy studies and offers an alternative to the traditional economic methods used in energy research. Further, contrast explanation is extended by the addition of contested and uncontested hypotheses analyses. This research focuses on the methods employed to deliver the new nuclear programme of the UK government. In order to achieve a sustainable nuclear energy policy three issues are of major importance: (1) law, policy and development; (2) public administration; and (3) project management. Further, the research identifies that policy in the area remains to be resolved, in particular at an institutional and legal level. However, contrary to the literature, in some areas, the research identifies a change of course as the UK concentrates on delivering a long-term policy for the nuclear energy sector and the overall energy sector.
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Over the coming decades the Highlands and Islands of Scotland will be transformed as new technologies and infrastructures are installed to exploit wind, wave, and tide power. However, interactions between the region-understood as a sociospatial category shaped by history, culture, and institutions-and these technologies are poorly understood and need to be appreciated in more detail before the changes gather momentum. In this paper we link and extend research around sociotechnical transitions and resource peripheries and use this framework to analyse wind energy projects on the island of Lewis. Our analysis draws attention to transition-periphery dynamics and the ways in which renewable energy projects and particular locations are coshaping each other through these. Building on this case study we suggest implications for the region as a whole, argue that the analytical-normative agenda of sociotechnical transitions should be recast, and highlight the need for more research on sociotechnical transitions and new resource peripheries.
Article
This article reflects on the strengths and limitations of the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) in the socio-technical transitions literature, focussing in particular on experiences applying the MLP in the domain of sustainable transport research. I address two questions: to what extent is the MLP useful for transport and sustainability researchers; and how might the MLP be improved to overcome present limitations and better address transport and sustainability research needs? I highlight contributions of the MLP to transport and sustainability modelling and social research including providing a more integrated and systemic perspective on socio-technical change. The MLP has also been useful as an analytical tool for identifying and engaging with diverse stakeholder groups, including mainstream (‘regime’) and alternative (‘niche’) organisations. The MLP might be improved by integrating natural, behavioural and political science insights, and particularly by elucidating how behavioural–institutional change might occur. This is critical for transport research given the expressed and observed public resistance to changing travel behaviour. It remains to be seen whether the MLP and transitions framework themselves require more radical adjustment to be able to predict the changes needed to support a transition to a sustainable society.
Article
This article discusses the concept of planetary boundaries that has been advanced by a group of leading experts around Johan Rockström. I place the concept of planetary boundaries in the larger framework of the emerging research paradigm of earth system governance, welcoming it as a crucial contribution that defines the overall goals of governance. Yet I also elaborate on the political conflicts that surround the identification of planetary boundaries, which are, in the end, a social construct. I then explore the policy and governance responses that may follow from the planetary boundary approach. In the conclusion, I point to several research challenges that flow from the current state of knowledge on planetary boundaries.
Article
This study assesses the effectiveness of two types information disclosure programs – state-based mandatory carbon reporting programs and the voluntary Carbon Disclosure Project, which uses investor pressure to push firms to disclose carbon emissions and carbon management strategies. I match firms in each program to control groups of firms that have not participated in each program. Using panel data methods and a difference in differences specification, I measure the impact of each program on plant-level carbon emissions, plant-level carbon intensity, and plant level output. I find that neither program has generated an impact on plant-level carbon emissions, emissions intensity, or output. Placing this study in contrast with others that demonstrate improvements from mandatory information disclosure, these results suggest that how information is reported to stakeholders has important implications for program effectiveness.
Article
How do we account for multinational energy companies that are able to operate in “risky” political environments? While traditional risk indices may tell us why a country is considered a difficult operating environment, they tell us very little about why some multinationals are neverthelessly able to operate successfully in such countries over long periods of time. In fact, risk indices by their very nature make “success” almost impossible to capture due to their sole focus on country behavior. In reality, when a multinational energy company enters into a given country, the firm establishes relationships with a series of stakeholders, not a single “host country” entity; further, the behaviors of those stakeholders (good or bad) do not exist in a vacuum, but rather are largely influenced by the multinational's own behavior. In other words, the risk is in the relationship between the firm and the country's stakeholders. This article argues that success is therefore a function of the firm's ability to manage relationships among a variety of stakeholders within a given country. A case study of Cameco, a Canadian-based uranium mining multinational which has been operating in the politically “risky” country of Kazakhstan for two decades, bears this out.
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In this paper we argue that traditional approaches to risk assessment should be supplemented by an explicit discussion of the moral acceptability of nuclear technology and the risks it poses. The introduction of nuclear energy in society should be seen as an ongoing social experiment, whose (moral) acceptability should continuously be addressed. Given the long-term risks of nuclear energy, intergenerational justice should be explicitly included in such an analysis. This will also have implications for nuclear power policies. Furthermore, emotions such as sympathy and feelings of responsibility can provide moral insights; they should be taken seriously in the debate about nuclear energy rather than being dismissed as irrational distractions as is currently the case. These proposed reforms would help society to move beyond the usual stalemate in the debate about nuclear power.
Article
Bringing attention to fuel poverty as a distinct manifestation of social inequality has asserted the place of affordable warmth in the profile of contemporary rights and entitlements. As such, fuel poverty can be understood as an expression of injustice, involving the compromised ability to access energy services and thereby to secure a healthful living environment. In this paper, we consider how fuel poverty may be aligned to various alternative concepts of social and environmental justice. Whilst recognising that fuel poverty is fundamentally a complex problem of distributive injustice, we argue that other understandings of injustice are also implicated and play important roles in producing and sustaining inequalities in access to affordable warmth. Addressing fuel poverty has to involve seeking justice in terms of the cultural and political recognition of vulnerable and marginalised social groups and pursuing procedural justice through opening up involvement and influence in decision-making processes. We make this argument both in theoretical terms, and through considering the experience of fuel poverty advocacy and policy development in the UK. Opportunities for future action may be illuminated through such interconnected justice framings as wider awareness of energy, climate and poverty issues emerge.
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Australians have strong attachments to the coast. The impact of climate change brings to the fore deep-seated socio-cultural values, which add to the already complex and uncertain biophysical changes that challenge our preparations for future climate change.Our research aims to examine the role of worldviews and deep seated values in decision-making in response to climate change. The objective is to show how a multi-layered discourse analysis using causal layered analysis (CLA) can provide a powerful means of revealing the underlying social and cultural influences on decision-making and provide more insight into potential pathways for more effective responses to complex phenomena such as climate change. A case study of coastal governance in the south west of Western Australia, which is highly vulnerable to sea-level rise, provides the context of the research.We have found that CLA as a critical research tool has proven to be a useful method in uncovering the dominance of the administrative rationalist worldview on coastal governance. In our view, future coastal governance would benefit from a shift towards greater participatory governance and the incorporation of more reflexive practice so that the deeper emotional and relational aspects of decision-making balance out the dominant problem-solving discourse.
Article
This article uses social movement theory to analyze environmentaljustice rhetoric. It argues that the environmental justice frame is a masterframe that uses discourses about injustice as an effective mobilizing tool. The article identifies an environmental justice paradigm and compares it with the new environmental paradigm. In addition, the article discusses why the environmental justice movement grew so fast and why its adherents find the environmental justice frame so appealing.
Article
This article argues that among all policy fields exhibiting externalities of a global scale, energy stands out on four dimensions: vertical complexity, horizontal complexity, higher entailed costs, and stronger path dependency. These structural attributes are at odds with contemporary key challenges of energy security, energy justice, and low carbon energy transition. With regard to the latter, energy governance challenges occur related to unclear levels of authority and weak resilience. This has implications for energy scholarship, specifically relating to the political economy of energy transitions, discussions about common pool resources, systems analysis, and other neighboring disciplines.
Article
The incineration of waste is a controversial issue marked by a history of opposition from community groups and environmentalists around the globe. Opponents, particularly in the USA, have frequently adopted a discourse of environmental justice to challenge the legitimacy of incineration. In line with these broad geographies of resistance recent proposals to introduce municipal solid waste incinerators in Ireland have sparked a series of opposition campaigns. However an examination of the discourses of resistance adopted by campaigners in one specific site of resistance, the Galway region on the west coast of Ireland, indicates that the vocabulary of environmental justice has not been publicly articulated. This paper investigates this absence of environmental justice in the language of opposition. The research reveals an interwoven set of contingent conditions that conspire to inhibit the adoption of environmental justice discourses in Ireland. However these conditions are not static and a combination of pressures, both within and beyond Ireland, are creating a dynamic context that could promote the emergence of environmental justice discourses in the future.
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Sustainability oriented innovation and technology studies have received increasing attention over the past 10-15 years. In particular, a new field dealing with "sustainability transitions" has gained ground and reached an output of 60-100 academic papers per year. In this article, we aim to identify the intellectual contours of this emerging field by conducting a review of basic conceptual frameworks, together with bibliographical analysis of 540 journal articles in the field. It is against this background that we position the six papers assembled in a special section in Research Policy. These papers pave the way for new conceptual developments and serve as stepping-stones in the maturation of sustainability transition studies, by linking with the scholarly literatures of management studies, sociology, policy studies, economic geography, and modeling.