Energy Equity and Energy Justice in Power Systems

December 2023

The development and operation of electric power systems have had an unequal impact on different populations. The current energy transition presents both opportunities and challenges for mitigating historical inequities and promoting both energy equity and energy justice. According to the US Department of Energy “Energy equity recognizes that disadvantaged communities have been historically marginalized and overburdened by pollution, underinvestment in clean energy infrastructure, and lack of access to energy efficient housing and transportation” [1] and, according to the Initiative for Energy Justice, “Energy justice refers to the goal of achieving equity in both the social and economic participation in the energy system, while also remediating social, economic, and health burdens on those disproportionately harmed by the energy system. Energy justice explicitly centers the concerns of communities at the frontline of pollution and climate change (“frontline communities”), working-class people, indigenous communities, and those historically disenfranchised by racial and social inequity. Energy justice aims to make energy accessible, affordable, clean, and democratically managed for all communities” [2].

Power systems engineers have a unique role to play in supporting and directly contributing to energy equity and justice through research, development, and practice on topics including, but not limited to, equitable electricity system planning, equitable electricity system operation and control, equitable distributed energy resource adoption and coordination, equitable electricity rate and demand-side management program design, recommender systems for electricity rates and demand-side management programs, and reducing bias in data-driven algorithms for power systems [3].



[3] J.L. Mathieu. “Algorithms for Energy Justice”. In: Women in Power: Research and Development Advances in Electric Power Systems, Springer Women in Engineering and Science Series. Ed. by Jill S. Tietjen, Marija D. Ilic, Lina Bertling Tjernberg, and Noel N. Schulz. Springer Nature Switzerland AG, Cham, Switzerland. 2023.

Active Committees/Task Forces of Interest
Technical Reports & Applicable Papers or Presentations
  • Bethel Tarekegne; Mark Rouleau; “An energy justice based approach for electrification planning – An agent-based model”, DOI: 10.1109/GHTC46095.2019.9033126,
  • Ruth Shortall; Anna Mengolini; “Assessing energy justice in EU-funded energy poverty alleviation projects”, DOI: 10.1109/EEM58374.2023.10161854,
  • Lailomah Mughal; Salman Mohagheghi; “Electrification of Rural Areas: Energy Justice, Challenges, and Possible Solutions”, DOI: 10.1109/GreenTech56823.2023.10173818,
  • Bethel Tarekegne; Devyn Powell; Konstantinos Oikonomou; Eva Jacroux; Rebecca O’Neil; “Analysis of Energy Justice and Equity Impacts from Replacing Peaker Plants with Energy Storage”, DOI: 10.1109/EESAT55007.2022.9998034,
  • Emily Holt; Deborah A. Sunter; “Historical Patterns for Rooftop Solar Adoption Growth Rates in Connecticut”, DOI: 10.1109/PVSC43889.2021.9518878,
  • Yuhan Du; Javad Mohammadi; “The Need for Equitable Coordination in Multi-agent Power Systems”, DOI: 10.1109/PESGM52003.2023.10253092,
  • Alok Kumar Bharati; Ankit Singhal; Rohit Jinsiwale; Kamila Kazimierczuk; Jennifer Yoshimura; Bethel Tarekegne; “Advancing Energy Equity Considerations in Distribution Systems Planning”, DOI: 10.1109/ISGT51731.2023.10066350,
  • Yi Wang; Chien-Fei Chen; Peng-Yong Kong; Husheng Li; Qingsong Wen; “A Cyber–Physical–Social Perspective on Future Smart Distribution Systems”, DOI: 10.1109/JPROC.2022.3192535,
  • Bethel Tarekegne; Jessica Kerby; Alok Kumar Bharati; Rebecca O’Neil; “Assessing the Energy Equity Benefits of Energy Storage Solutions”, DOI: 10.1109/EESAT55007.2022.9998019,
  • Alyssa Kody; Amanda West; Daniel K. Molzahn; “Sharing the Load: Considering Fairness in De-energization Scheduling to Mitigate Wildfire Ignition Risk using Rolling Optimization”, DOI: 10.1109/CDC51059.2022.9993295,
  • Dakota Hamilton; Dionysios Aliprantis; “Resilient Distribution System Restoration with Equitable Load Shedding”, DOI: 10.1109/PECI57361.2023.10197833,
  • Jared Porter; Michael Pedrasa; Andy Woo; Kameshwar Poolla; “Combining storage and generation for prepaid electricity service”, DOI: 10.1109/SmartGridComm.2015.7436337,
  • Mariano Arriaga; Claudio A. Cañizares; Mehrdad Kazerani; “Renewable Energy Alternatives for Remote Communities in Northern Ontario, Canada”, DOI: 10.1109/TSTE.2012.2234154,
  • Andrew Harrison Hubble; Taha Selim Ustun; “Scaling renewable energy based microgrids in underserved communities: Latin America, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa”, DOI: 10.1109/PowerAfrica.2016.7556586,
  • Oluleke Babayomi; Taiwo Okharedia; “Challenges to Sub-Saharan Africa’s Renewable Microgrid Expansion – A CETEP Solution Model”, DOI: 10.1109/PowerAfrica.2019.8928865,
  • Oluleke Babayomi; Tobi Shomefun; Zhenbin Zhang; “Energy Efficiency of Sustainable Renewable Microgrids for Off-Grid Electrification”, DOI: 10.1109/PowerAfrica49420.2020.9219958,
  • Mashood Nasir; Hassan Abbas Khan; Nauman Ahmad Zaffar; Juan C. Vasquez; Josep M. Guerrero; “Scalable Solar dc Microgrids: On the Path to Revolutionizing the Electrification Architecture of Developing Communities”, DOI: 10.1109/MELE.2018.2871297,