Working Paper

Justice and the Energy Transition: Early Lessons from Community Renewables



Savaresi A (2017) Justice and the Energy Transition: Early Lessons from Community Renewables.

In recent years, measures to stimulate local and rural communities’ involvement in the generation of renewable energy have been rather optimistically promoted as a means to engender greater legitimacy in and democratization of energy governance, tackle fuel poverty and deliver energy justice. At a time when the European Union is considering measures to promote community renewable policies across its Member States, this paper assesses what we really know about this fairly recent policy experiment and its suitability to deliver an equitable energy transition. The paper scrutinizes evidence from selected EU Member States that have pioneered the use of community renewables policies through the lens of justice and equity theories, with the objective to gauge whether and how community renewables policies can address core justice questions associated with energy transitions, and the role of law in providing an answer to these. This problematization of community renewables policies aims, on the one hand, to deliver greater understanding of a fairly recent policy experiment, questioning whether the optimism with which it is often portrayed is well founded. On the other, the paper aims to highlight what we still do not know about community renewables, identifying areas for future research. In order to do this, the paper distils a set of distributive, procedural and restorative justice questions associated with renewable energy generation, and considers the way in which they have been addressed in the context of community renewables policies, drawing on examples from Denmark, Germany and the UK. The paper concludes by mapping existing knowledge and identifying gaps for future research.

justice; equity; community; renewable energy; energy transition; climate change

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