Community Heroes and Sleeping Members: Interdependency of the Tenets of Energy Justice

Science and Engineering Ethics 28 (5):1-17 (2022)
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Energy justice literature generally treats its three tenets, distributional justice, procedural justice and recognition justice, as separate and independent issues. These are seen as separate dimensions by which criteria can be formulated for a just state of affairs. And a just state of affairs regarding energy should fulfill all criteria. However, we show, using empirical research on six European energy communities that the tenets of energy justice are interdependent and negotiated in practice. We show this interdependency using three core concerns of justice—risk, effort and power—which we identified through our empirical work. Our findings reveal that community members are often willing to take risks and put in effort, if they are compensated with more power within the community. Similarly, members are willing to compromise power if no effort or risk-taking is required from them. This demonstrates the interdependency of the tenets “procedural justice” and “distributional justice” within energy communities. We reflect on the need for energy justice theory and policymakers to recognize the significance of this interdependency.



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Author Profiles

Gunter Bombaerts
University of Ghent (PhD)
Mandi Astola
Delft University of Technology

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