Towards impactful energy justice research: Transforming the power of academic engagement

Kirsten Jenkins, Jennie Stephens, Tony Reames, Diana Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The field of energy justice is at a critical juncture. As the social dimensions of energy systems are becoming more salient, it is time to reflect on what has been achieved, and look towards a future of greater impact and transdisciplinary methods in energy justice research and practice. In the past 10 years, the energy justice literature has grown exponentially demonstrating the appeal and the value of its tangible, applicable explanatory framework. Yet more pessimistically, this rapid growth could also represent a trend in uncritical commitment without appropriate reflectivity and without maximizing societal impact. Carefully considering these different interpretations, this perspective article reflects on four core challenges and opportunities for energy justice scholarship and practice in its next wave of development: (1) the alignment, connectivity and orientation of energy justice terminology, (2) leveraging impact and achieving outcomes in partnership between academic and non-academic communities and activists, (3) the need to acknowledge and define the audience for energy justice contributions and (4) the need for energy justice scholars and practitioners to “practice what we preach”. Given the timely salience of energy justice work, more intentional consideration of the possibilities for societal impact is increasingly valuable.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101510
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Early online date24 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Mar 2020


  • energy justice
  • energy policy
  • transnational research
  • research impact


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