PhD Oral Defence of Matthew Burke, Natural Resource Sciences.
As integrated sociotechnical systems, renewable energy systems co-evolve with new social arrangements, as social institutions of the fossil-fuel era are transformed for an age of renewables. This research explores this proposition by examining the recent phenomenon of energy democracy. Energy democracy is both a social movement and a set of principles and goals for organizing collective action toward energy transition. The objectives of this research are to: 1) draw out and critically engage with the implicit theory underlying energy democracy and the associated tensions and implications for practice 2) identify and assess the core objectives and policies advanced by advocates of energy democracy, and 3) demonstrate how energy democracy works as a counter-narrative to mainstream transition narratives while comparing the ways diverse initiatives work in practice toward social transformation.