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Energy Democracy

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Front. Commun. | doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2018.00008

Energy Democracy and the City: Evaluating the Practice & Potential of Municipal Sustainability Planning

  • 1Environmental Studies, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, United States

While calls for, and work towards, energy democracy have been entrenched in social movements, and the concept has a burgeoning posture in academic discourse, perhaps the most significant implication for its development is the potential for its implementation at the local governance scale. In order for municipal efforts to be wholly democratic, energy policy must be accessible and responsive to the needs of all communities. This necessitates the convergence of an energy democracy paradigm with principles and practices of both energy justice and Just Sustainabilities that encourage communities and households' entrée to the energy planning arena, as participants in policy making and with access to renewable innovations. By using a case study as its means of analysis, this paper will evaluate municipal scale energy programming by considering the prospects of energy democracy on a sub-state scale. In our analysis of Washington, DC's Sustainable Energy Utility, we highlight challenges that limit the potential for energy democracy in the nation's capital, along with practices that lead DC towards energy justice and democracy. We conclude by offering indicators for democratized urban energy planning.

Keywords: Energy democracy, Energy justice, just sustainabilities, sustainability planning, sustainability energy utility

Received: 31 Oct 2017; Accepted: 07 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Leah Sprain, University of Colorado Boulder, United States

Reviewed by:

Deborah C. Callister, University of San Francisco, United States
Laurence Delina, Boston University, United States
Aimee K. Roundtree, Texas State University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Teron and Ekoh. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Lemir Teron, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Environmental Studies, Marshall Hall, Syracuse, 13204, United States, Lteron@esf.edu