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Routledge Handbook on the Green New Deal ; : 211-230, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2144397


In a post-COVID era many are counting on a large sustainability transition stimulus to be a central part of economic re-build strategies, so that the stimulus helps to “build back better.” But what exactly does this “better” look like, and how might we achieve it? In this chapter we examine the concept of energy democracy (ED) and the lessons this concept holds for our understanding of Green New Deals. Energy democracy challenges the traditional elite and technocratic orientation of energy systems by highlighting the normative value and strategic importance of including citizens and civil society organizations in the design, ownership and operation of energy infrastructure. We argue that GND proposals lacking significant democratization components are unlikely to be deeply transformative and thus more likely to reproduce (or even intensify) existing socio-economic cleavages. © 2023 selection and editorial matter, Kyla Tienhaara and Joanna Robinson;individual chapters, the contributors.

New Zealand Sociology ; 35(2):47-75, 2020.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1573332


Energy systems and institutions form a foundational but largely invisible element of modern life. We depend on poles, wires and fuels now more than ever to power our social and economic activities in our post-COVID-19 world. The global climate emergency is largely driven by fossil energy CO2, with a sizeable and growing gap between an imagined clean and just energy future and current practice. Like other countries, Aotearoa/New Zealand has struggled to put in place policy to reduce domestic emissions. While its electricity profile is largely renewable, we argue that this masks the degree to which this is underpinned by a historical state-led energy governance regime, where the current regime is ill equipped to address the persistent challenges of transport electrification and poor building energy performance. In addition, we posit that the energy system has cumulative and distributive impacts that are environmentally, economically and socially significant, and that Aotearoa/New Zealand’s energy transition will require new socio-cultural infrastructures in addition to physical ones. Future energy paths are contingent on struggles between established incumbents, their role in shaping narratives of the possible, and the degree to which policy actors are open to new actors and ideas;many paths are possible. Drawing on energy transitions scholarship and four years of research into grassroots energy actors in Aotearoa/New Zealand, we outline three possible energy futures: business as usual;utility-led;and inclusive. We show Aotearoa/New Zealand is likely to follow a utility-led transition and identify the drivers in terms of agency and institutional change that would be necessary to carve out a role for local and community energy within this scenario. © 2020, New Zealand Sociology. All rights reserved.