Towards a just energy transition, barriers and opportunities for positive energy district creation in Spain Articles uri icon


  • Hearn, Adam X.

publication date

  • January 2021


  • 16


  • 13

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2071-1050

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2071-1050


  • (copyright) 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.To mitigate the effects of climate change, the European Commission created a Strategic Energy Technology Plan committing to forming 100 Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) by 2025. These are considered to potentially be major instruments for decarbonization in a just transition. This plan has led to some districts being defined as PEDs, although none have fully met the criteria to be a PED yet. Research shows that new forms of energy ownership and production, as could potentially be found in PEDs, could help reduce energy poverty, which affects a significant segment of the population, as households can reduce their energy expenditure as well as improve their energy behavior. This paper set out to shed light on the PED landscape, investigating the barriers and opportunities to PED creation in Spain and its potential to mitigate energy poverty. We conducted a literature review on community-owned energy in Spain, followed with expert interviews (energy researchers, stakeholders, and NGOs) who focus on sustainability issues in Spain. Results show a number of barriers (lack of knowledge and awareness, and lack of trust from consumers) and opportunities connected with the creation of PEDs. In conclusion, policymaker engagement and support play a key role in successfully implementing PEDs.


  • energy justice; energy poverty; energy transition; local energy communities (lecs); positive energy districts (peds)