Negotiating energy democracy in practice: governance processes in community energy projects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a growing ‘energy democracy’ (ED) movement which regards the transition to renewable energy as an opportunity for socio-economic transformation, as well as technological innovation. The literature on ED tends to associate greater democratic control of energy systems with increased community control over the means of energy generation and distribution. Nonetheless, this literature often assumes rather than demonstrates that the forms of governance it promotes are more democratic than the status quo. This analysis contributes to the emerging field of ED by assessing the complex and varied ways in which communities in Scotland practise energy governance. By focusing on three key governance processes (decision-making, accountability and dispute resolution), the importance of local contexts for the establishment and negotiation of democratic practices is demonstrated. This local specificity, however, also raises further questions regarding the universal applicability of the ED concept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-665
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 4
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council. I thank Dr. Claire Haggett and Dr. Dan van der Horst for their valuable feedback on earlier versions, and the two anonymous reviewers whose helpful suggestions improved and clarified this manuscript. I also thank the UK Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) for funding this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
  • Energy Systems

Free keywords

  • community governance
  • Energy democracy
  • energy governance
  • inclusivity
  • Scotland


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