Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

A New Logo, And A Definition Of Energy Democracy

Originally published at

You may have missed our small change, but after rolling out our program logo back in December 2014, we decided to make a small revision in our name and program description, from “democratic energy” to “energy democracy.”

Primarily, this is due to the understandable but mistaken notion that democratic energy had any relationship to the Democratic Party (it doesn’t), but also the growing movement around the term energy democracy.

It’s also an effort to give definition to the term “energy democracy,” a term that has earned a following and a growing commitment among energy activists.

“Energy democracy” implies an energy system that is democratic, where decisions are made by the users of energy. This is the core of the notion of self-reliance, and obviously very close to the heart of our work at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, where we’ve championed communities having self-determination over a variety of facets of their economy since 1974.

Energy democracy is also being used, with an emphasis on democracy, to describe a system that is equitable in both the management and benefits — in particular, equitable from the standpoint of race and socioeconomic status. ILSR has rarely explicitly stepped into such territory, because our work in shifting of authority into the hands of those most affected by it has tended to be at the 30,000-foot level of local v. state or federal, or public v. private. But it can’t (and shouldn’t) be avoided.

To call a system that decentralizes and disperses the control and economic benefits of the energy system democratic, but without racial and socioeconomic equity, is to cheapen the term democracy.

I wouldn’t presume to define energy democracy for all those using the term, but I think those of us that use it share these common principles:

  • Energy democracy means both the sources (e.g. solar panels) and ownership of energy generation are distributed widely.
  • Energy democracy means that the management of the energy system be governed by democratic principles (e.g. by a public, transparent, accountable authority) that allows ordinary citizens to have a say. This means that communities that wish greater control over their energy system (via municipalization of utilities, for example) should have minimal barriers to doing so.
  • Energy democracy means that the wide distribution of power generation and ownership, and access to governance of the energy system be equitable by race and socioeconomic status.

Hopefully, it’s clear in our work how we hew to these principles of energy democracy. We hope you like our new logo, too.

New Logo

ilsr energy democracy logo horiz

Previous Logo:

For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter or get the Energy Democracy weekly update.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

John directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (, and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at


You May Also Like

Clean Power

What's been happening over the last year as indigenous peoples strive for renewable energy independence?


In Consumers, prosumers, prosumagers – How service innovations will disrupt the utility business model, Fereidoon Sioshansi helps readers grasp the spirit of the times, the importance of...

Clean Power

Fear of nuclear power is vastly overrated as an issue among pro-nuclear advocates. Like conservatives in the USA up to the Secretary of the...

Clean Power

There are two persistent and overlapping trends in American discussions of climate change, nuclear energy, and renewable energy. The first is American exceptionalism, the...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.