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Special Issue "Internationalism, Interdisciplinarity, and Methodological Individualism: Understanding and Reflecting on the Emergence of Local and Community Governance of Energy"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Shane Fudge

Lecturer in Energy Policy, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0) 1326 371866
Interests: community energy and local governance of sustainability; behaviour change and policy; the global challenge of sustainable living; sustainable transitions and transformation
Guest Editor
Dr. Michael Peters

Lecturer in Energy Policy in the Built Environment, University of Reading, School of Construction Management and Engineering, Whiteknights, Reading, RG66UR, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0) 118 378 5266
Interests: community-based energy and sustainability initiatives; stakeholder techniques; environmental education and citizen engagement in low carbon social change initiatives; effective dissemination of research findings to both academic and non-academic user groups

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will comprise a selection of papers exploring the idea of local and community governance of energy through the prism of different theoretical, disciplinary, and methodological understandings. Whilst the idea of community energy and local forms of decision-making, in relation, has gained increasing traction in both policy and academic circles as a driver for low carbon transitions, there remains significant ambiguity in relation to both how we conceptualise ideas such as ‘community’ and ‘localism’, and, subsequently, how we might understand these concepts in terms of their normative influence on social, political and economic change. This issue becomes even more problematic at the international level, where the role of communities and local governance in national energy systems remains variable and is subject to the influence of different economic, cultural, and political influences. This Special Issue invites contributions that provide fresh insights and new understanding on the different theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary approaches that might be employed to help us to understand the increasing influence of communities, local governance, and local decision-making in contemporary energy systems. The issue invites international contributors and researchers in the fields of both the formal (i.e., local authority and city-led approaches to sustainable energy/demand reduction) and informal (i.e., grassroots or community-led approaches) to submit papers for inclusion. The editors also welcome the contribution of different disciplinary approaches to the issue, including sociology, geography, economics, politics, psychology, and social psychology. Papers selected for this Special Issue will be subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Dr. Shane Fudge
Dr. Michael Peters
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • energy
  • community
  • localism
  • internationalism
  • methodology
  • interdisciplinarity

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Trade, Tarsands and Treaties: The Political Economy Context of Community Energy in Canada
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 464; doi:10.3390/su9030464
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract
Governments today are increasingly looking to non-state and bottom up community actors to help achieve climate change mitigation targets. Canada is a resource rich state with one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas footprints in the world. It is also a state
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Governments today are increasingly looking to non-state and bottom up community actors to help achieve climate change mitigation targets. Canada is a resource rich state with one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas footprints in the world. It is also a state where issues of political will, geographic scale and incumbent industries contribute to a challenging context for broad community participation. Despite this, a long history of co-operative and municipal activity exists in the energy sector, exhibited in diverse ways across its provinces and territories. Provincial variation in energy sources and actors illustrates a far more nuanced picture than exists at the national level, providing a case rich with both promising and cautionary tales for the community energy sector. This article examines the emergence of community energy in the context of broader energy sector moves towards increasingly powerful trade agreements, privatization, and conflicts over Indigenous rights in Canada. It argues that significant potential exists to strengthen the role of local actors in Canadian energy governance, but that macro-level political and economic developments have also created significant challenges for widespread community energy transitions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transition Initiatives as Light Intentional Communities: Uncovering Liminality and Friction
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 448; doi:10.3390/su9030448
Received: 27 December 2016 / Revised: 5 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
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Abstract
The Transition Network is a global grassroots network that supports community-led resilience in the face of global change. This paper reports on an ethnographic study of one of its longest-running projects, Transition Town Lewes (TTL) in the United Kingdom. The aim of the
[...] Read more.
The Transition Network is a global grassroots network that supports community-led resilience in the face of global change. This paper reports on an ethnographic study of one of its longest-running projects, Transition Town Lewes (TTL) in the United Kingdom. The aim of the study is to analyse TTL as a community. More specifically, we ask two questions: (1) what type of community is TTL? and (2) what are the challenges TTL faces as a community? With this, we contribute to the existing literature on local sustainability initiatives and in particular on Transition initiatives, by providing an in-depth understanding of the challenges and social dynamics at play in a day-to-day setting. We conducted three months of intensive ethnographic fieldwork using participant observation, interviews, and a focus group. Our analysis shows that TTL is a community that, on the one hand, is motivated by explicit intentions and goals, but that, on the other hand, leaves openness and flexibility regarding the level and specifics of participants’ engagement. We introduce the novel concept of ‘light intentional community’ to describe this type of community. We first investigate intentionality in TTL, finding that differences exist between individual participant motivations and stated TTL objectives. We go on to describe the ‘light’ aspect of TTL—the differences in levels of engagement between community participants. Our analysis shows that TTL and its participants face two main challenges. First, TTL participants experience ‘multi-dimensional liminality’: they operate in a liminal space between mainstream society and TTL practices, and additionally experience a continuous sense of transitioning toward a moving goal. Second, TTL as a community faces internal and external frictions. These challenges are interrelated and stem from the structure and dynamics of TTL as a light intentional community. We conclude by reflecting on our analysis of the nature and challenges of ‘light intentional communities’, identifying what opportunities this concept brings for overcoming the challenges of grassroots globalization initiatives amidst mainstream society. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Boundary Bridging Arrangements: A Boundary Work Approach to Local Energy Transitions
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 424; doi:10.3390/su9030424
Received: 17 December 2016 / Revised: 30 January 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
PDF Full-text (269 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Local energy transitions involve various types of actors (e.g., politicians, businesses, public administrators, and citizens) that differ in their objectives, values, problem-related perspectives, and professional jargons: these differences risk deterring the collaboration that is needed to pursue energy transitions as encompassing socio-technological transformations.
[...] Read more.
Local energy transitions involve various types of actors (e.g., politicians, businesses, public administrators, and citizens) that differ in their objectives, values, problem-related perspectives, and professional jargons: these differences risk deterring the collaboration that is needed to pursue energy transitions as encompassing socio-technological transformations. Based on a boundary work-approach, this contribution studies the interplay of actors in these transitions. The approach suggests that boundary bridging arrangements (e.g., boundary objects, boundary settings, and boundary organizations) evolve in local energy transitions, facilitating communication across the boundaries between the various types of actors. In applying the boundary work approach to the energy transitions in two German cities, the article explores the potentials and limitations of this approach. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Energy Literacy and Misconceptions of Junior High Students in Taiwan
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 423; doi:10.3390/su9030423
Received: 10 January 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 March 2017 / Published: 13 March 2017
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Abstract
Decision-making regarding energy determines carbon emissions and the severity of climate change. Energy literacy plays a crucial role because well-informed citizens can support the design and implementation of smart and forward-looking policies. Research has shown that people hold misconceptions about energy, and for
[...] Read more.
Decision-making regarding energy determines carbon emissions and the severity of climate change. Energy literacy plays a crucial role because well-informed citizens can support the design and implementation of smart and forward-looking policies. Research has shown that people hold misconceptions about energy, and for young students these may persist into adulthood. Thus, this study is to understand the energy literacy of junior high school students in Taiwan and what their misconceptions are as well as why and how they hold these. Energy literacy scales (ELS) were developed and served as the basis for a survey of 1652 students in five regions of Taiwan, in which most indicators for knowledge were designed corresponding to common misconceptions in the scientific and social context of energy issues. Through analyzing the survey questions and survey results, interview questions were designed and 10 students were interviewed to identify their misconceptions. A “conceptual logic map” model was developed for demonstrating the sources and patterns of misconceptions and their linkages. Potential educational strategies were then proposed, showing the applicability of the model. The combination of concept-oriented energy literacy surveys, interviews, and the conceptual logic map was proven to be an effective design for misconception identification and treatment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation Method for Autonomous Decision-Making Performance in Energy and Environmental Innovations: A Case Study of an Indonesian Community
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 80; doi:10.3390/su9010080
Received: 27 October 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1715 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper develops an evaluation method for assessing autonomous decision-making performance and demonstrates it using a case study. Focusing on community decision-making practice in energy-environmental innovation projects, a decision-making model is developed using Petri-net. This empirical model is then expanded to be able
[...] Read more.
This paper develops an evaluation method for assessing autonomous decision-making performance and demonstrates it using a case study. Focusing on community decision-making practice in energy-environmental innovation projects, a decision-making model is developed using Petri-net. This empirical model is then expanded to be able to accommodate autonomous properties and more pathways to reach various decision-making outcomes. The autonomous decision-making performance evaluation is employed by simulating the impact of various levels of autonomous conditions using the expanded model stochastically. Those results are further divided into six categories, based on the conditions (autonomous, semi-autonomous, and non-autonomous) and decision outcomes (fully successful, moderately successful, and failed). For each category, the specific stakeholders’ properties are analysed and explained. The categorised conditions are useful for estimating the outcomes of the particular community decision-making practice based on the stakeholders’ properties. The model can be modified in order to pre-evaluate other energy and environmental related decision-making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Measuring the Socioeconomic and Environmental Effects of Energy Efficiency Investments for a More Sustainable Spanish Economy
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1039; doi:10.3390/su8101039
Received: 26 July 2016 / Revised: 30 September 2016 / Accepted: 6 October 2016 / Published: 18 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (738 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present here an application of a multisector economic model to simulate the impact of investing in energy-efficiency-related sectors. Given the value chain of energy production shows several aspects to be improved, this paper intends to identify the economic sectors where investment should
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We present here an application of a multisector economic model to simulate the impact of investing in energy-efficiency-related sectors. Given the value chain of energy production shows several aspects to be improved, this paper intends to identify the economic sectors where investment should be allocated in order to reach the targeted energy efficiency levels in the overall economic system. We expect that an improvement in energy efficiency will bring a fall in electricity demand. Simulating these impacts will enable an assessment of the macroeconomic effects of such demand-side changes in Spain. For simulation purposes, we will use input–output methodology, based on data from a Spanish input–output table from the year 2012 that we have constructed. The scenario used for modeling has been obtained from the objectives proposed by the European Union for 2030, specifically the one promoting an increase to at least a 27% increase in energy efficiency compared with the business-as-usual scenario. This demand-side model enables us to measure the potential sector-by-sector growth of the Spanish economy and to calculate households’ expected savings in energy bills due to the implementation of energy efficiency measures. The impacts of employment and CO2 emissions are also quantified as a result of the investments aimed at improving energy efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Asymmetric Effects of Oil Price Shocks on the Chinese Stock Market: Evidence from a Quantile Impulse Response Perspective
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 766; doi:10.3390/su8080766
Received: 12 June 2016 / Revised: 29 July 2016 / Accepted: 4 August 2016 / Published: 8 August 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2636 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper uses a quantile impulse response approach to investigate the impact of oil price shocks on Chinese stock returns. This process allows us to uncover asymmetric effects of oil price shocks on stock market returns by taking into account the different quantiles
[...] Read more.
This paper uses a quantile impulse response approach to investigate the impact of oil price shocks on Chinese stock returns. This process allows us to uncover asymmetric effects of oil price shocks on stock market returns by taking into account the different quantiles of oil price shocks. Our results show that the responses of Chinese stock market returns to oil price shocks differ greatly, depending on whether the oil and stock market is in a bust or boom state and whether the shock is driven by demand or supply. The impacts of oil price shocks on Chinese stock returns present asymmetric features. In particular during a bust phase, oil supply and demand shocks significantly depress stock market returns, while during a boom period, the aggregate demand shock enhances stock market returns. These results suggest some important implications for investors and decision makers. Full article
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