Energy democracy

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Energy democracy is a political, economic, social and cultural concept that merges the technological energy transition with a strengthening of democracy and public participation. The concept is connected with an ongoing decentralization of energy systems with energy efficiency and renewable energy being used also for a strengthened local energy ownership. With new green technologies available, such a transition is possibly involving new actors: prosumers, renewable energy co-operatives and municipal, community-owned power stations which replace centralised, power corporations.

This concept is promoted by renewable energy business sector,[1] local communities,[2] labour unions (e.g. Global Labour Institute, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy[3]), think tanks (e.g. Green Institute Foundation) etc.[4] and NGO (e.g. Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

There are various concepts of Energy Democracy. One early concept has been published by the Berlin based group gegenstrom 2012.[5] The thesis paper calls for “a 100% transition to renewable energy as quick as possible" and a reform of ownership of energy production: “dash energy corporations! Socialise energy provision! The gamete of energy democracy will be publicly owned city utilities (Stadtwerke) and energy cooperatives”.[6] The concept inspired the German climate camps in 2011, as a collection of theses and arguments.[7] The 2012 climate camp Lausitzcamp in Lusatia published a short summary of the concept: “Energy Democracy means ensuring that everyone has access to enough energy. However, the energy must be produced in a way that it neither harms nor endangers the environmental or people. Concretely, this means leaving fossil fuels in the ground, socializing and democratizing the means of production and changing our attitude towards energy consumption.” [8]

In 2014, a concept of energy democracy was promoted by the city of Boulogne-Billancourt in France. For its participation in the Bloomberg mayors challenge, the city presented an innovative vision of Energy democracy based on the reduction of the use of fossil fuels and a system of incentives to encourage citizens in reducing their energy consumption.

Energy-democracy has been a successful concept of grass roots movements to combine resistance against fossil fuel exploitation like coal or shale gas with a positive alternative agenda.[9] "The hope, moreover, is that energy democracy might offer new spaces for collaboration between ecological movements and movements for social, economic and workplace justice."[10]

Academic, James Goodman, details the difference between energy policy in Germany and India, exploring public participation in approaches to renewable energy. He concludes that 'energy policies are found to be increasingly embeded in the wider 'climate dialectic', forcing new, more transformative possibilities onto the agenda.'[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CleanTechnica Energy Democracy campaign website
  2. ^ Renewable Communities - Energy Democracy
  3. ^
  4. ^ Energy Democracy (Demokracja energetyczna) website
  5. ^ Gegenstrom 2011, Energiepolitische Thesen
  6. ^ Gegenstrom 2011, Energiepolitische Thesen and
  7. ^ Zeitung zu den Klimacamps 2011 im deutschsprachigen Raum
  8. ^ quoted after the translation at Büro für eine demokratische Energiewende 2012 <>
  9. ^ Kunze, Conrad and Becker, Sören, Energy democracy in Europe: A survey and outlook, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels Office, 2014.
  10. ^ James Angel, Strategies of Energy Democracy, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels Office,
  11. ^ Goodman, James (2016). "The 'climate dialectic' in energy policy: Germany and India compared". Energy Policy. 99.