The Energy & Environment Speciality Group is proud to sponsor four types of awards

Juan Felipe Riano Landazabal, University of California Los Angeles

Harvesting Energy in Times of Peace: Coping with Bioenergy's Geographies in Post-Conflict Colombia

Current Winners:

Christina Hoicka, Ph.D., University of Victoria

Nazifa Rafa, Cambridge University

"Energy Access and Welfare for Displaced Populations: Energy justice in the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox's Bazar,  Bangladesh"


Examining the energy landscape through the lens of the energy justice framework and its intersection with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this qualitative research sheds light  on the nuanced challenges faced by displaced populations through the case study of Rohingya  refugee settlements in Bangladesh. Energy injustices in refugee contexts, such as through uneven  distribution of energy access, financing and resources, non-recognition of refugees’ situated  energy needs, and poor representation of displaced populations in energy-related decision-making  can create staggering energy poverty in displaced settings. In-depth interviews show that this  energy poverty has repercussions for the refugees’ food security, health, education, access to clean  water, and gendered inequalities, impacting the overall progress made in the SDGs. As the refugees  navigate these challenges, funding and financial scarcity, inadequate governance and lack of  participatory decision-making emerge as imperative components that hinder energy justice for  refugees. Further, the study raises vital questions about the framing and future of displaced  populations in the context of SDGs and just transitions. Findings emphasize the active participation  and empowerment of refugees in shaping sustainable energy solutions and the integration of  energy justice principles into policies and interventions. Navigating the multifaceted impact of  energy poverty, this study aims to guide policymakers, researchers, and practitioners toward  inclusive, sustainable, and just solutions for displaced populations grappling with the  intersectionality of energy deprivation and humanitarian contexts. 

Alida Cantor, Ph.D., Portland State University

"Energy Storage and Environmental Justice: A Critical Examination of a Proposed Pumped Hydropower Facility in Goldendale, Washington" (2023) Antipode


Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind produce electricity intermittently, creating challenges in balancing electricity supply and demand for increasingly renewable-dominated grids. This is driving efforts to increase energy storage infrastructure, such as pumped hydroelectric power storage (pumped storage). In this research, we examine environmental justice issues in a case study of a proposed pumped storage facility in Goldendale, Washington, which has been highly controversial and actively contested by a coalition of Indigenous and environmental communities. Drawing from frameworks of political ecology, just transitions, and Indigenous environmental justice, we focus on processes of consultation and engagement around permitting as a key arena for environmental justice contestation, and critically examine the driving assumptions behind the project. Despite popular framings of renewable energy infrastructures as new and green, we argue that the environmental justice impacts of this and similar projects represent continuity with past patterns of settler colonialism and extractive development.