Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Siddharth Sareen
      Pages 3-14 Open Access
  3. Cases

  4. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 103-103
    2. Siddharth Sareen, Timothy Moss, Christian Lund, Håvard Haarstad, Benjamin Sovacool, Steven Wolf
      Pages 117-135 Open Access
  5. Siddharth Sareen
    Pages C1-C2 Open Access
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 137-168

About this book


“This compact book argues that ideas about accountability and legitimation – drawn from work on environmental governance – can open up new analytical perspectives on what is holding back effective energy system transformation. With bite-size chapters and illustrative cases that draw on the work of five expert witnesses, this is a novel intervention into debates over the politics of energy transition.”
-Professor Gavin Bridge, Durham University, UK

“The book theorizes and advances the research frontier on legitimation practices and accountability with a carefully crafted analysis bridging scholarly fields of environmental governance, political economy, energy research and democratic theory. It is a must-read for all students and scholars interested in shaping more legitimate, democratic and accountable energy transition from the local to global context.”
-Professor Karin Bäckstrand, Stockholm University, Sweden

This open access book reframes sustainable energy transitions as being a matter of resolving accountability crises. It demonstrates how the empirical study of several practices of legitimation can analytically deconstruct energy transitions, and presents a typology of these practices to help determine whether energy transitions contribute to sustainability.

The real-world challenge of climate change requires sustainable energy transitions. This presents a crisis of accountability legitimated through situated practices in a wide range of cases including: solar energy transitions in Portugal, urban energy transitions in Germany, forestland conflicts in Indonesia, urban carbon emission targets in Norway, transport electrification in the Nordic region, and biodiversity conservation and energy extraction in the USA. By synthesising these cases, chapters identify various dimensions wherein practices of legitimation construct specific accountability relations. This book deftly illustrates the value of an analytical approach focused on accountable governance to enable sustainable energy transitions. It will be of great use to both academics and practitioners working in the field of energy transitions.

Siddharth Sareen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation at the University of Bergen, Norway.


energy transitions accountability sustainability relational change institutional changes legitimacy material change accountability analysis accountability crisis solar energy history of sustainable energy climate targets electric mobility urban climate and energy policy Berlin’s energy transitions Biodiversity conservation energy extraction open access

Editors and affiliations

  • Siddharth Sareen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography Centre for Climate and Energy TransformationUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

About the editors

Siddharth Sareen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Bibliographic information