Is the German energy transition perceived as gender- and socially-just?

Redesigning the national energy system and enabling 100 % renewable energy in all sectors requires not only legislative acts, but also a wider societal transformation that guarantees the active involvement of citizens and considers their needs.

A first important step is to increase the public acceptance of the energy transition. To really pursue an acceptance policy, it is important to reach every citizen, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, age, or income. It is essential to not only understand the energy system in terms of its technical aspects, but also its social-cultural dimension. This means that it is necessary to comprehend the ways in which the energy system is shaped by socio-cultural factors such as gender or age, and how higher acceptance of the energy transition can contribute to achieving a just energy system.

This working paper is one result of the ‘Accept’ project, led by Fraunhofer ISI and WECF Deutschland e.V., and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The project’s overall objective is to explore citizens’ perceptions of the energy transition as well as its non-monetary and monetary impacts. Using a mixed methods approach, citizens’ perceptions have been elaborated using surveys as well as a series of workshops. This paper is embedded in the broader research project and presents results from data collected during workshops. This paper aims to analyse the data from a socially- and gender-just point of view by answering the following research question:

“How do citizens perceive the energy transition initiated by the German government in terms of social justice aspects?”

This question makes it possible to identify citizens’ perceptions of the risks and opportunities that the energy transition provides for distinct social groups, mainly marginalised ones. In this context, there is a particular focus on women as one of the main underrepresented groups and how their chances of participating in the energy transition are perceived.