Spatializing energy justice

Stefan Bouzarovski, Neil Simcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper introduces the concept of spatial justice and inequality to understandings of energy poverty and vulnerability. By applying an explicitly spatial lens to conceptualize energy poverty as a form of injustice, it contributes to debates in the domain of 'energy justice', where previous examinations of energy deprivation through a justice framing have focused on inequalities between social groups and often marginalized questions of spatial difference. We start from the premise that geographic disparities in the risk and incidence of domestic energy deprivation are a key component of energy justice. An extensive literature review has allowed us to highlight the spatial and temporal variation of cross-sectoral and entire-energy-chain injustices that lead to elevated energy poverty risks. These processes contribute to the rise of energy injustices via four mechanisms - which we term landscapes of material deprivation, geographic underpinnings of energy affordability, vicious cycles of vulnerability, and spaces of misrecognition - operating at a multiplicity of scales. While lending some support to area-based approaches towards energy poverty alleviation, our findings also suggest that such policies alone may marginalize the underlying structural dynamics that (re)produce spatial inequalities. Therefore, achieving energy justice necessitates broader interventions in the fundamental driving forces of spatial inequality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-648
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2017


  • Energy justice
  • Energy vulnerability
  • Fuel poverty
  • Material deprivation
  • Spatial justice


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