My research explores the co-constitution of energy and equity within our energy systems; with a particular concern for the role that community energy models play in contributing towards the (re)negotiation of social justice within energy systems broadly conceived. Large-scale, centralised models of energy systems, ubiquitous across the industrialised world, provide energy at an unprecedented scale in real time. More recently, however, research around the emergent theme of energy justice has unveiled that despite the outward appearance of an energy system that delivers safe, clean and affordable energy for all, access to energy is in fact highly contingent and fragmented whilst its associated benefits are unevenly distributed across space and time. With the increasing presence of communities playing an active part in the negotiation of their own energy futures, my research examines the role of community energy as a vehicle for achieving social justice objectives – particularly in the context of fuel poverty in Wales – and for mapping and examining local perceptions of community benefit as a tool for exploring the diversity of ways in which community energy contributes towards the mediation of local and social objectives beyond the environmental.
The study works directly with Welsh Government as an active partner and co-funder; with an explicit focus on the Ynni’r Fro community energy programme and participatory engagement with a range of communities from across Wales.