The territorial dimension of ESG challenges in energy communities and “just” transition practices

Track 4 – Special session

Thursday, 21st July 2022 from 11:30 to 16:00 | Seminar room 3

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Organisers: Luca Tricarico (Luiss University), Matteo Zulianello (RSE), Francesca Bragaglia (Politecnico di Torino), Federica Rotondo (Politecnico di Torino)

Keywords: Just Transition, Social and Environmental Impact, Territorial/Urban Governance, Energy Communities, Social Innovation

Potential journal publication: Please check this page for updates


In Europe and Italy, as in the rest of the world, energy transition has become a critical argument at the core of public debate, on top of EU Climate and Energy Agenda as for its member states. Previous seasons of energy policies, while cloaked in a “green” guise, have often followed the logic of extracting value with de-territorialized models of energy production, followed in many cases by the generation of oppositional movements on the part of local communities.  This section proposes a different perspective that takes distance from mainstream approaches adopted so far by focusing on the socio-spatial and governance dimensions of energy transition. It poses new political, practical and research issues for those involved in planning and social sciences and opens up many stimulating aspects of reflection which are profoundly interrelated:

  • First, the spatial/environmental dimension: the scales at which these processes generate environmental impact must be clarified, the reasoning produced at the ‘micro’ and the ‘macro’ scales may vary and influence the strategic nature of the practices involved.
  • Second, the social dimension. An accurate definition of energy needs, social perspectives, capabilities of different policy targets imply reflections on how to interpret the making of a “just transition”. We believe that addressing transition practices through social policy can enhance their impact, amplifying or smoothing out territorial imbalances and inequalities, where the energy issues emerge also as part of the eco-welfare framework.
  • Finally, a further point – which is also closely linked to the previous ones – is the governance dimension of these practices. With regard to this aspect, energy communities represent a potential framework of social innovation through transition practices, led by different governance processes and organization according to different stakeholders, interests raised and the financial resources mobilised.

These three main aspects of energy transition can be declined according to a broad spectrum of territorial alternatives that still need to be explored and systematized. According to this context, the session aims to reflect and discuss – from an interdisciplinary perspective – how energy transition practices were developed and how they’ve been involved in a wider territorial context. Critically highlighting blind spots and opportunities that concern project evaluation, governance tools, organizational features and financial schemes that can enhance the significance of energy transition in practice.


  • 551 Gerli, Francesco – When just means capable: investigating the capacities of local public actors for green and just transitions
  • 585 De Vidovich, Lorenzo – Eco-welfare and the pathway towards eco-social policies: some first insights from a research focus on energy poverty in Trieste
  • 591 Bonifazi, Alessandro – Community building in local energy transitions in Italy
  • 536 Ruggieri, Gianluca – Key economic drivers enabling municipal energy communities’ benefits
  • 617 Realini, Anna – Energy poverty, health and home renovation
  • 549 D’Herbemont, Stanislas – Adapting public procurement procedures to support the development of community initiatives at the municipal level.
  • 689 Rotondo, Federica – Urban energy transition: actors, processes and policies in public housing neighbourhoods. The case of Bologna

Download all abstracts of Track4