Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Community versus local energy in a context of climate emergency

UK policy on decentralized energy has shifted from community energy to local energy. This signals reduced support for grassroots, citizen-led action in favour of institutional partnerships and company-led investments, which puts at risk the urgent, long-term social and technological transformations required in a climate emergency.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Walker, G. & Cass, N. Area 39, 458–469 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Community Energy Strategy: Full Report (DECC, 2014)

  3. Global Warming of 1.5 °C (IPCC, 2018).

  4. Walker, G., Hunter, S., Devine-Wright, P., Evans, B. & Fay, H. Glob. Environ. Polit. 7, 64–82 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Walker, G. & Devine-Wright, P. Energy Policy 36, 497–500 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Community Energy: Broadening the Ownership of Renewables (IRENA, 2018).

  7. Hicks, J. & Ison, N. Energy Policy 113, 523–534 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Walker, G., Devine-Wright, P., Hunter, S., High, H. & Evans, B. Energy Policy 38, 2655–2663 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Devine-Wright, P., Smith, J. & Batel, S. Trans. Inst. Br. Geogr. 44, 407–421 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Community Energy Strategy Update (DECC, 2015)

  11. Pearce, H. BEIS Local Energy Team Update (BEIS, 2016);

  12. Kennedy, S. Local Energy Capacity Support for LEPs and Local Authorities (West Yorkshire Combined Authority, 2017);

  13. Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Prospering from the Energy Revolution - showcase projects. Innovate UK (2019).

  14. Hargreaves, T., Hielscher, S., Seyfang, G. & Smith, A. Glob. Environ. Change 23, 868–880 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Devine-Wright, P. & Wiersma, B. Local Environ. 18, 1099–1116 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Berka, A. L. & Creamer, E. Renew. Sust. Energ. Rev. 82, 3400–3419 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Rydin, Y. & Turcu, C. Energy Policy 129, 653–660 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Espe, E., Potdar, V. & Chang, E. Energies 11, 2528 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Bauwens, T. Energy Policy 93, 278–290 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. van Veelen, B. & Haggett, C. Sociol. Ruralis 57, 533–554 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Seyfang, G., Hielscher, S., Hargreaves, T., Martiskainen, M. & Smith, A. Environ. Innov. Soc. Transit 13, 21–44 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Creamer, E., Aiken, G. T., van Veelen, B., Walker, G. & Devine-Wright, P. Energy Res. Soc. Sci. 57, 101223 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Flett, G., Kelly, N. & McGhee, R. Review of UK Energy System Demonstrators (UKERC, 2018).

  24. Devine-Wright, P. J. Commun. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 19, 426–441 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Creutzig, F. et al. Nat. Clim. Change 8, 260–263 (2018).

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  26. Dubois, G. et al. Energy Res. Soc. Sci. 52, 144–158 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Patrick Devine-Wright.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Devine-Wright, P. Community versus local energy in a context of climate emergency. Nat Energy 4, 894–896 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing