Energy dialogues and Energy Citizenship: Public Engagement in Energy Sustainability Transitions

In the face of global warming, energy sustainability transitions are needed on a large scale. Technologically speaking, this involves shifts away from fossil fuels to renewable, low emission sources of energy. Notwithstanding considerable technological, economic and political challenges in making such transitions, it is also vital that the public is constructively engaged.

Energy citizenship goes beyond the role of the energy consumer. The concept represents political ideals related to democratic participation and empowerment. Energy citizenship is produced through public engagement in policy-making and planning, where the potential for action is framed by notions of equitable rights and responsibilities across society for dealing with the consequences of energy consumption, notably climate change. This includes participation in energy dialogues, which comprise a wide variety of exchanges about energy issues among professional stakeholders in the energy industry, among policymakers, in research as well as among the public.

Thus, energy citizenship and energy dialogues are mutually constructed or co-produced. Join Knut H. Sørensen, Professor of Science and Technology Studies at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) to discuss sustainability transitions with emphasis on energy-related policy-making and public engagement with respect to energy citizenship and energy dialogues.

Sørensen is part of the National Centre for Sustainable Energy Studies and is presently engaged with researching the gender balance among university professors and with a study of enactments of responsibility among biomedical and nano scientists. He has extensive experience from interdisciplinary research collaboration with engineers and architects. Sørensen is author/co-author/editor/co-editor of 10 books, has published 33 papers in refereed journals, and 37 book chapters in academic edited collections.