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Energy justice

In the Energy Justice funding theme, Siemenpuu’s aim is to support development of sustainable energy systems serving rural communities by advancing participatory energy planning and community-based renewable energy production.

In the theme, Siemenpuu supports the project activities of civil society organisations in Mali and Myanmar.

At the policy level, the objective is to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of the energy economy by preventing the development and construction of particularly harmful projects, and by supporting civil society’s development of alternative energy plans and lobbying of decision-makers. The aim is to make decision-making processes on energy policies and projects fair and to strengthen the voice of those most directly and strongly affected.

Supporting sustainable renewable energy projects can bring major benefits to local communities – especially those who are off the grid. Increasing ownership and self-sufficiency is essential. Projects supported in rural local communities empower communities to produce their own energy using clean solar, wind and micro-hydropower, reducing the use of fossil fuels and firewood.

Energy justice is a concept that links principles of justice to energy policy, energy production and systems, energy consumption, energy activism, energy security and climate change. It also includes reducing of energy poverty (SDG 7). Siemenpuu supports an equitable and sustainable system-level transition, which in the energy sector means accelerating the deployment of environmentally sound and socially equitable low-carbon solutions. It is important to address the root causes of the currently unequal distribution of benefits and burdens of energy-related decisions.

In most countries in the South, women experience energy poverty differently and more severely than men, often performing time-consuming and heavy tasks such as collecting biomass to burn. Unequal gender relations also limit women’s ability to voice their energy needs and participate in decision-making in energy systems at all levels.

This theme builds on previous work. In 2008-20, Siemenpuu supported energy-related capacity building and advocacy work by civil society organisations in the Mekong River region, particularly in Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. The aim was to influence national and regional energy planning “upstream”, i.e. at the earliest possible stage.

Since 2018, advocacy work has been accompanied by support for concrete small-scale renewable energy projects in partnership with the EKOenergy Climate Fund. Siemenpuu aims to create links between advocacy work and renewable energy projects, thus strengthening both actors, which is important to increase impact.