Elusive publics in energy projects: The politics of localness and energy democracy

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In order to have the assessment of the local impacts of energy projects, decision-makers need to separate a local public from the wider public. From the starting point that ‘publics’ are so-called imaginaries, this perspective paper argues that the operationalisation of publics tends to impose concerns, motivations and capacities upon the members of both publics, expecting local publics to consider specific concerns, while wider publics are expected to attend generic interests. Moreover, methods to invite members from a local public to speak out on the acceptability of an energy project tend to ignore the heterogeneity and dynamics of the ‘public’, compromising the democratic legitimacy of an assessment made by such a local public.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101225
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Energy democracy
  • Energy projects
  • Imaginaries
  • Publics


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