Rural Energy Justice

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter considers the question of what a specifically rural energy justice might entail. We begin by reviewing the state of rural energy justice scholarship around fossil fuels and renewables, identifying some of the key texts, historical trajectories, and areas in which this scholarship can be further developed. We then turn to our case study, focusing on the history and contemporary energy injustices facing poor and predominantly African American communities in eastern North Carolina. Our analysis is organized around three key tenets. First, while rural energy justice concerns may take different forms from those in urban areas, the urban and the rural are always connected. Second, while it is important to consider the linkages between sites of injustice, it is equally critical to study how geographical specificity makes rural areas’ experience of energy injustice distinct. Third, previous energy transitions have introduced injustices that can be instructive in predicting new issues that may arise from the renewable energy transition. We conclude by placing this case study in its broader context, and identify new pathways for research on the distributional, procedural, recognition, and particularly restorative aspects of rural energy justice.


Rural energy justice, energy transitions, US South, Renewable Energy

Publication Title

Handbook on Energy Justice