Social Planning for Energy Transitions

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Energy transitions are thoroughly social affairs. Despite this fact, energy policy rarely incorporates the social dimensions of energy systems change in an intentional, explicit, and broad fashion. Reviewing extensive recent research, we introduce the concept of social planning for energy transitions as an innovative framing for energy policy that can accompany technical and economic analyses and decision-making, especially in the current context of flux and uncertainty in the energy sector. We define social planning as understanding and preparing for the societal outcomes of energy transitions, as well as developing strategies to incorporate these considerations into energy policy. We review five areas of capacity-building for social planning in energy transitions: mapping socio-energy relationships, envisioning socio-energy futures, designing just socio-energy systems, building socio-energy partnerships, and governing socio-energy transitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Community
  • Deliberation
  • Future
  • Governance
  • Imagination
  • Justice
  • Management
  • Organization
  • Policy
  • Power
  • Public
  • Redistribution
  • Scenario planning
  • Society
  • Society
  • Socio-energy systems
  • Sociotechnological systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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