The goal of sustainable low carbon energy systems requires a nuanced understanding of social justice concerns. Energy systems are understood broadly as multiple interconnected processes of generation and consumption. These include all components related to production, conversion, delivery, and use of energy. The current energy transition calls for a rethinking of ethical dilemmas on how to allocate the benefits and costs of scarce energy resources, not only among the citizens of urban and rural; north and south; poor and rich but also between current and future generations. Past experiences have shown that realizing energy projects is seldom an uncontested process. From confrontations over oil extraction, concerns over the sustainability of biofuels, to resistance against hydropower, wind energy projects as well as nuclear power, energy questions seem inherently fraught with conflict and sustainability concerns. This ultimately raises the question of energy justice: how can we understand and foster justice when considering past, present and future energy access and production – energy for whom and for what at whose cost? Considerations such as these have implications for the justice concerns of energy development itself. Given the clear impetus for a drastic change of the energy landscape in the coming decades and the key challenges faced by many countries in meeting increasing energy needs, it is to be expected that these will become crucial questions in the coming decades.
Elsevier (accessed) 23rd Feb 2017 read more »