The evolution of electricity systems raises fundamental questions about how to balance innovation with costs to individuals, particularly those individuals who are less able to participate in or benefit from the innovation. Who bears the costs of modernization, and how we distribute the burdens and benefits, are societal questions with policy implications that underlie the concept of energy justice. Energy justice looks beyond income-based discount rates that, while necessary, are alone too blunt a tool to optimize the underlying dynamics that create the need for such discounts.
This Comment proposes a framework for evaluating energy justice, recognizing that there is not, nor need be, a uniform definition of what energy justice means or what it seeks to achieve. The authority and process for implementing this framework will differ across jurisdictions, but the Comment examines some of the questions that state legislatures and ratemaking agencies will face when integrating energy justice considerations into their regulation of electricity markets.