Participative environmental policy integration in the Irish energy sector

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Mullally, Gerard
Dunphy, Niall P.
O'Connor, Paul
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This article explores the implications of participation for Environmental Policy Integration (EPI), through the window of Irish energy policy, employing concepts of ‘energy democracy’ and ‘energy citizenship’. Our analysis of a consultation process on energy policy identifies distinctive narratives, with different idealisations of energy citizens. We distil the implications of consequent, emergent institutional innovations examining imagined citizens, communication, participation and decision-making linked to policy. We adapt and operationalise the analytical framework of discursive institutionalism (Schmidt, 2008), using explanatory factors for EPI (Runhaar et al., 2017). Relocating the specific consultation in the wider process preceding and following its outcomes we examine the degree, and conditions under which participation advances EPI in the sector. We suggest that energy citizenship constructs and processes of energy democratisation remain highly contingent on context. Nevertheless, ‘principled priority’ (Lafferty and Hovden, 2003) though often involving trade-offs in practice, ought not be decoupled from processes of democratisation that may underpin its sustainability.
EPI , Energy democracy , Energy citizenship , Energy transition , Participative EPI , Environmental Policy Integration
Mullally, G., Dunphy, N. and O’Connor, P. (2018) 'Participative environmental policy integration in the Irish energy sector', Environmental Science & Policy, 83, pp. 71-78. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.02.007