Procedural injustices in large-scale solar energy: a case study in the Mayan region of Yucatan, Mexico

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There is a clear need for improving justice and sustainability in the implementation of renewable energy projects. Assessing energy justice in contexts with high cultural and ecological diversity as well as high levels of marginalisation, and a post-colonial history (of domination and resistance to it), requires taking into account the local contextual understandings of justice. Current literature, however, has been mostly developed under the evidence and concepts of Global North contexts, which tend to build in universal ideas of justice, often inappropriate for policy application in the Global South. To contribute to closing this gap, the paper qualitatively analyses the implementation of a large-scale photovoltaic project in Yucatan, Mexico, examining how neighbouring indigenous communities and other key actors perceive, experience and react to procedural and socio-environmental justice issues in the project's implementation. Results show that commonly-used concepts such as consent, participation and inclusion -as currently applied in the siting of renewable infrastructure- are now mostly perceived as legitimation of projects that align with the developer and governmental priorities. Emphasising self-determination over and above the aforementioned concepts is seen as a priority among affected communities for achieving a more socially just energy transition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-390
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2021


  • procedural justice
  • energy transition
  • indigenous communities
  • self-determination


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