Energy Justice from the Bottom Up: A Capability Approach to Community Acceptance of Wind Energy in Mexico
This paper aims to extend the energy justice framework by using the capability approach to understand factors affecting community acceptance of energy technologies. The capability approach is a normative framework for assessing people’s well-being and devising interventions for social justice. Whilst recognising that opposition to energy technologies is fundamentally a problem of distributive, recognition and procedural injustices, the paper operationalises the capability approach to unveil what these justice tenets mean to indigenous people living in three communities neighbouring wind installations located in Southern Mexico. Findings conclude that building a bottom-up approach to understand complex conceptions of energy justice within a community can lead to an improved awareness of justice implications relevant to community acceptance of energy technologies. In the Mexican case, these factors relate to inclusive community engagement that pays particular attention to valued ways of being and doing of the local population, such as equal access to employment, higher education and professional training, diversified sources of income, and recognition of the local indigenous everyday life and communal identity. The results also highlight a nested structure of justice concerns, with the three tenets being embedded into one another and presenting different levels of visibility.