Participatory methods in energy system modelling and planning – a review

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McGookin, Connor
Ó Gallachóir, Brian P.
Byrne, Edmond P.
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This paper presents a systematic review of participatory methods used in energy system modelling and planning. It draws on a compiled database of fifty-nine studies at a local, regional, and national level detailing analysis on full energy systems down to sectors, modes, and single technologies. The initial aim of the paper is to consolidate and present this growing body of literature, providing a clear understanding of which stakeholder groups have been engaged and what methods have been used to link stakeholder engagement with quantitative analysis. On from this, the progress to date in democratising key decision-making processes is discussed, reflecting on the benefits and challenges of a participatory approach, as well as highlighting gaps within the current body of literature. During the review, two differing spatial levels at subnational (cities, municipalities, or regions) and national scale emerged as separate groups for analysis. A clear distinction between the two groups was the motivation for involving stakeholders. At a subnational level, researchers hoping to build local capacity to bring about real-world change engaged with community representatives, whereas national level studies concerned with generating more impactful energy policy measures involved industry, policymaking, and academic experts. One key finding from the review was that only ten out of the fifty-nine studies reviewed noted some form of collaboration with non-academic stakeholders, and moreover 36% of studies involved just a single interaction with participants. This indicates a lack of progress to date in process democratisation within energy system modelling and planning research.
Participatory , Transdisciplinary , Energy system modelling , Energy planning , Energy scenarios
McGookin, C., Ó Gallachóir, B. P. and Byrne, E. P. (2021) 'Participatory methods in energy system modelling and planning – a review', Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 151, 111504, (14pp). doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2021.111504
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