Participative environmental policy integration in the Irish energy sector

Gerard Mullally, Niall Dunphy, Paul O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • EPI
  • Energy citizenship
  • Energy democracy
  • Energy transition
  • Participative EPI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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