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Energy Justice, Energy Democracy, and Sustainability: Normative Approaches to the Consumer Ownership of Renewables

  • Kirsten E. H. Jenkins
Chapter

Abstract

The evolution of consumer ownership models for renewable energies is not a solely financial issue; it is a social justice one too. Energy transitions geared towards renewables are often promised with the “best in mind”—low carbon production, greater energy efficiency, greater awareness from consumers around their consumption habits, and in the case of this book, increasingly distributed ownership (Bergman and Eyre 2011; O’Rourke and Lollo 2015). Positioned as part of this transformational change, the implementation of consumer ownership schemes in general and that of a Consumer Stock Ownership Plan (CSOP) in particular could, in theory, increase the success and speed of these energy transitions by increasing the integration of low-income, hard-to-reach consumers, enabling participation and distribution at low-threshold levels, and avoiding energy efficiency rebound effects as we move towards energy prosumption (Lowitzsch, this volume; Ellsworth-Krebs and Reid 2016). In this context, (co-)ownership appears to be a positive motivator for more sustainable practices. What is more, this could occur not only in relation to what we classically consider to be “renewable technologies”, such as wind, solar, and wave, but also increasingly in relation to the smart technologies that will become part of consumer life (Sovacool et al. 2017a). Yet consumer ownership approaches are not entirely unproblematic or without danger. This brief synthesis chapter explains why from an energy justice perspective.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Energy Justice and Transitions, Centre on Innovation and Energy DemandUniversity of SussexSussexUK

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