This paper explores capability conflicts in the deployment of decentralised energy systems and identifies the affected population. These systems have positive societal impacts in terms of sustainability and consumer empowerment, but they are not accessible to all and their deployment may increase socio-economic inequalities. The societal impacts of decentralised energy systems can be understood in terms of conflicting capabilities; for some citizens capabilities may increase, whereas for others they may decrease. While problematic, capability conflicts may not be inherent. They may only occur in certain neighbourhoods, for example, where both affluent and less affluent populations coexist. By understanding why these capability conflicts occur, we may be able to anticipate whether these decentralised energy projects could result in societal problems. We use agent-based modelling and the scenario discovery technique to identify capability conflicts and the populations that may be affected. We distinguish five classes of conflicts, which can be used to anticipate social acceptance issues. Affected populations can be involved in the decision-making process to foster acceptance of decentralised energy systems. This work contributes to the growing political and scientific debate on issues of energy justice and inclusiveness related to the energy transition. Additionally, we contribute to the operationalisation of such capabilities, as this is one of the first papers to formalise the Capability Approach using an agent-based model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101451
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Agent-based modelling, Capability approach, Decentralised energy systems, Energy justice, Exploratory modelling

ID: 71363117