Energy practices and the construction of energy democracy in the noordoostpolder the Netherlands

Rasch, Elisabet Dueholm; Köhne, Michiel


This chapter analyses how energy democracy is constructed through past and present energy practices. We do so by way of a case study of a Dutch municipality, the Noordoostpolder, where residents successfully resisted a nuclear power plant and the extraction of shale gas and today work towards a local transition to renewable energy. We argue that energy practices can be transformative and that they mediate and produce new norms and practices of energy production that come together in the construction of energy democracy from below. We argue that contemporary renewable energy practices are rooted in local energy histories, rather than in ideological considerations about sustainability. It is through these energy practices that “sustainable” and “local ownership” are rendered key elements of energy democracy and imaginations of new energy futures. Economic viability, options for creating universal access, alignment with sustainable lifestyles, technological innovations and possibilities for maintaining a comfortable lifestyle are all important considerations in the construction of energy democracy in the Noordoostpolder, discursively and in practice.