Energy Justice and Off-Grid Energy Systems: Exploring the injustices for the off-grid citizen

Darren McCauley

The aim of this paper is to explore the idea of ‘energy injustice’ when unconnected to a national grid. Mini- and off-grid energy systems have emerged in developed world contexts as solutions to variable energy demand. They have, on the other hand, a long existence in developing world contexts where grid infrastructure is lacking outside major cities. The term ‘energy injustice’ refers to the individual or collective feeling of injustice with regards to both the production and consumption of energy, which are hitherto under-explored together in existing research. Energy consumers in parts of Scotland are, for example, increasingly engaged in making individual decisions on how and from where they decide to purchase and produce their own energy, especially in small island contexts. Communities in Vietnam or Nepal are equally engaged in similar decisions but often for different purposes. This paper will therefore seek to understand where, how and why injustice is felt in both instances. What are they most concerned about or hindered by in their production and consumption decisions? Data will be presented from off-grid (defined as off the national grid) communities in Nepal, Vietnam and Scotland. Frames of energy injustice are explored in each context with a view to understanding energy and ethics in off-grid scenarios.