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An Analysis of Emerging Renewable Hydrogen Policy through an Energy Democracy Lens: The Case of Australia


As part of reducing carbon emissions, governments across the world are working on measures to transition sectors of the economy away from fossil fuels. The socio-technical regimes being constructed around the energy transition can encourage energy centralisation and constrain actor engagement without proper policy and planning. The energy transition is liable to have significant impacts across all of society, but less attention has been given to the role of democratic participation and decision-making in the energy system during this time. Using the energy democracy framework developed by Kacper Szulecki, we employ content analysis to investigate how Australia’s renewable hydrogen strategies at the Commonwealth and state levels engage with the broader objective of democratising energy systems. Based on our findings, we recommend ways to support a renewable hydrogen regime in Australia in line with the principles of energy democracy, such as community engagement, built-in participation, popular sovereignty, community-level agency, and civic ownership. This study provides a perspective on the energy transition that is often overlooked, and a reminder to policymakers that the topology of an energy transition can take many forms.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Australia

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