Energy justice and infrastructure development in the United Kingdom

  • The concept of energy justice concerns the fairness in the extraction, generation, and access to energy that is disproportionately distributed between nations, regions and communities, between producers, consumers and those left out of the market. In the United Kingdom successive changes through electricity market reform and the development of alternative ‘unconventional’ sources of energy (including new nuclear build, shale gas, distributed generation and new transmission infrastructures) produces multiple patterns of energy injustices between rural and urban communities, between ‘host’ sites as centres of extraction and generation, and urban centres of high energy consumption. Moreover, decisions about energy are increasingly centralised, made within urban centres in s way that creates a periphery of rural and peri-urban communities whose environmental wellbeing becomes ‘sacrificed’ to the city’s thirst for energy. This presentation concerns the normative ethical dimensions of energy justice for the UK – exploring the distributive fairness in the ways in which energy production, access and use are spread in society, and the procedural fairness – looking at the decision-making powers involved, the actors and the scales at which energy decisions are made. Some ideas for a fairer energy system and best practice in energy policy are discussed.

 

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