A systematic review of diverse practices of public participation in energy transitions

28 Apr 2017

The task of transitioning to more sustainable and low carbon energy systems has become a defining challenge of our age. It demands changes in how societies produce, store, distribute, use and relate to energy on an unprecedented scale. It is increasingly recognised, however, that transforming energy systems is a fundamentally social problem as well, requiring social science insights that attend to the societal dimensions of energy system change. There are now significant demands for evidence about what publics think, know, say and do in relation to energy systems and their governance.

This report forms part of a project that applies such systemic thinking to the field of public participation related to energy for the first time. It presents research that sought to systematically map diverse practices of public engagement with energy, their emergence and interrelations within energy systems. The study was informed by a relational framework for understanding energy participation at a systemic level and took the form of a UKERC systematic review of public engagement in the UK energy system 2010-2015. The analysis of systematic review evidence identifies and illustrates key patterns of UK energy-related participation, and explores the connections between different cases of energy-related participation and their relationship with the broader energy system.