What is Sustainable Energy Democracy in Law?

Ruven Fleming, Kaisa Huhta, Leonie Reins

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Energy democracy has emerged in the context of the clean energy transition and decentralization as an element of that transition. It has emerged relatively recently in Europe and in the United States and has started to raise a number of questions in the area of social sciences and law. These questions relate to the function and role of sustainable energy democracy, but also to the legal nature of the concept of sustainable energy democracy. This chapter sets out to explore and answer these questions. Sustainable energy democracy has no well-established definition, let alone a legally binding one. It is used in different contexts with different meanings. This chapter investigates the concept of sustainable energy democracy in three steps. First, it deciphers the concept and demonstrates how it rests on these two fundamental aspects, being the decentralized generation of sustainable energy on the one hand and the fair distribution of the burdens and benefits of the energy sector on the other. This is achieved through a review of relevant scientific literature and governmental and non-governmental documents. Second, it explains the role of sustainable energy democracy in law. It argues that energy democracy is a legal objective (as opposed to a principle or a rule) and introduces some legal approaches to demonstrate how the objective of sustainable energy democracy can be translated into specific legal instruments. Third, it provides insights into how this translation into concrete legal instruments has been achieved in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Energy Democracy and the Law
EditorsRuven Fleming, Kaisa Huhta, Leonie Reins
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-46544-2
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-46543-5
Publication statusPublished - 3-Jun-2021

Publication series

NameLegal Aspects of Sustainable Development
ISSN (Print)1875-0923

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