Andreas Goldthau

Rethinking the governance of energy infrastructure: Scale, decentralization and polycentrism

Energy Research & Social Science (1) 1, 2014


Providing societies with reliable energy services, fighting energy poverty and mitigating climate change entail a crucial infrastructure component. Both the energy access and the low carbon challenge require more decentralized energy solutions and a change in the energy infrastructure paradigm. Yet, physical energy infrastructure co-evolves with socio-economic institutions, actors and social norms. This may produce inertia against change. The energy challenge also requires solutions at multiple scales and may entail elements of common pool resource problems. Therefore, the governance of energy infrastructure needs to be polycentric. This allows for contextualization, experimentation and innovation. The article concludes by sketching routes of further research into the energy infrastructure governance nexus in social science research. Read the article.

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