Call for Papers Flyer – SI on Energy Decentralization
• 大类 : 工程技术 - 1区
• 小类 : 能源与燃料 - 2区
Policy-makers, NGOs and scholars increasingly refer to “energy decentralization” (ED) as central to climate change mitigation strategies and the development of sustainable energy systems (ex. Karger and Hennings 2009, European Parliament 2010). They also stress other multiple associated benefits of ED, ranging from energy security, job creation, economic benefits, local empowerment and stronger sense of local identity, to increased resilience. The underlying premises of this argument are that traditional highly centralized energy markets and infrastructures impede rapid introduction of alternative solutions, and that achieving 2 degree warming targets is likely to involve substantial consumer behavioural change; requiring a step change in the degree of civic engagement. The local level is presented as the ideal scale to intervene and to mobilize new actors such as citizens and communities. However, this view is not universal. Some argue that the benefits of centralized systems should not be discounted and that decentralization may introduce new complexities to the energy system which will ultimately impede low-carbon transitions. Also, complex interactions between different scales of energy systems need to be considered, alongside implications for technical and economic aspects of systems, such as balancing and baseload power, energy market restructuring and universal access to energy. Arguments about the less tangible benefits of ED therefore need to be stacked against an ongoing and debate over what level of decentralization is beneficial for society as a whole, factoring in aspects such as foregone costs in transmission expansion, investment in control systems, and economies of scale derived from large scale storage, generation and demand side management.
Current literature suggests that in practice, the emergence and shape of ED is highly dependent on past and present domestic policy dynamics, with the degree to which nations are actively embracing distributive energy agendas and associated institutional reforms highly variable. In addition, the way local governments or other local actors engage with the energy transition project may vary according to context, including tradition, resource capacity, and jurisdiction over energy related issues. Comparative studies illustrate the role of institutions in shaping the character of inclusion as being a relatively centrally co-ordinated process versus a process initiated and shaped by bottom-up experiments. Public opposition to some decentralized systems such as wind turbines in Europe also questions the nature of local public interest and democratic processes.
This special issue seeks to produce a collection of papers from various disciplines, focusing on understanding how the institutional and regulatory context shapes the character of ED, its inception and (non)- development, and how ED itself is contested in policy discourse and what forms of evidence are mobilized by different actors to argue for or against it. Papers can examine institutional frameworks and answer issues such as: How is the debate over the social, economic and environmental benefits of more versus less decentralization negotiated in practice? How can we explain country level variation in ED and what are the implications for our understanding of its role in energy transitions? What kind of institutional context enables and constrains the development of ED across different countries or locales? Who initiates and drives the development of ED, what kind of supporting mechanisms are associated with it (legal jurisdiction, financial resources, public-private- partnerships…); and how has this shaped growth opportunities and resulting models of civic engagement? How is the participation of citizen and communities to these projects framed in law? Others may have a more political approach and focus on discourse as well as networks to understand stakeholder viewpoints and mobilization. The objective of the special issue is to get a better understanding of ED as a contested notion and site of energy policy formulation, and what it represents to different actors in different contexts (what is “local” varies).
To date, studies on ED are fragmented between disciplines, regions and publication venues. The added value of this special issue will to integrate work from economic, engineering and social science viewpoints dealing with the topic of ED from an institutional point-of-view.
Against this background, the editors welcome paper proposals from all social science disciplines addressing the issues outlined above.Papers should aim to shed light on the narratives, agents and institutional constraints shaping variably decentralized energy sector transformations, their development stages and advancement, or associated outcomes or impacts. We especially welcome country or regional comparative studies. Potential topics include the following:
Policy pathways and institutional changes enabling the decentralization of energy functions (production, distribution, energy demand management).
Path dependencies between decentralization in power generation on the one hand and emerging trends in decentralization of storage and ancillary services on the other.
Critical reviews of the evidence, discourses or ‘institutional logics’ used to promote and/or argue against ED.
The relationship between energy decentralization and the balance of powers between central States and local authorities, including for instance powers, tools and financial support provided by central governments to local governments and/or communities to foster energy transition or sustainable energy systems.
Impacts of ED on local governance, or local social, economic and environmental outcomes.
Barriers and drivers for local action.
Institutional and legal innovation, including new forms of public-private partnerships, cooperatives, new participatory processes, new forms of citizen financing.