Valle N. D. & V. CzakoEmpowering energy citizenship among the energy poor


Nives Della Valle & Veronika Czako

Juli 2022

Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 89

The literature on energy citizenship highlights that for citizens to be protagonists of the energy transition meaningfully, they should partake through not only their energy investment and consumption decisions, but also as social and political actors who can shape the energy system. This is especially crucial when looking at the energy poor, since they face multiple injustices. If the energy transition has also to seek fairness and equity, then those who are affected directly by injustices have to be empowered to have a play on how to achieve these goals. In this study, we identify exemplary mechanisms that could ease the journey from passive consumerism to active energy citizenship among the energy poor. To this aim, we develop a conceptual framework using the lenses of empowerment and energy justice and conduct a review of the literature and European projects. We find a majority of mechanisms focusing on empowering the capacity to consume energy and invest in energy efficiency. Other mechanisms empower the role of consumers, but take a broader perspective by acknowledging that the injustices, personal circumstances and often socially structured needs influence the energy poor's capacity to act. Finally, we identify mechanisms with a potential to empower the energy poor's role as political and social actors in the energy system.

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