Energy justice within, between and beyond European community energy initiatives: A review

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Recent European policy efforts stimulate the emergence of community energy initiatives, and the European Commission explicitly aims to enable a just transition towards a low-carbon energy system. One of the prevalent assumptions is that fostering community energy will bring about energy justice. Intrigued by this assumption, we conduct an extending systematic literature review to explore how the notion of energy justice is discussed within scholarly work on community energy initiatives in Europe. We detected a tendency of community energy scholars to not (yet) fully employ the inherent scope the concept of energy justice entails. Therefore, we propose that community energy justice should be analyzed through three different lenses: energy justice occurring within community energy initiatives, between initiatives and related actors, and beyond initiatives. Extending the energy justice lens to address these different levels helps to bring the encompassing premise that the notion of energy justice entails better to the fore, both analytically and in practice. Through our analysis different energy justice impacts come to the fore, for example related to social inequality: not all societal groups are equally positioned to benefit from policies focused on community initiatives. Considering the policy efforts to stimulate community energy development, we argue that these impacts can be amplified, due to cumulative power of many community energy initiatives together. Our contribution highlights that for making energy transitions just, a broader and more connected understanding of energy justice in the context of community energy initiatives is central.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102157
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme824441
Horizon 2020884441


    • Community energy development
    • Energy justice
    • Just energy transition
    • Renewable energy
    • European energy transition


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