Neighbourhood batteries in Australia: Anticipating questions of value conflict and (in)justice

We have a new paper published today in Energy Research & Social Science.


  • Energy professionals and citizens hold diverse values on algorithm design, governance and the energy transition generally.
  • Differences in how values are interpreted and which values are emphasised suggest future points of conflict (and injustice).
  • Systemic issues raised both down and upstream of the technology suggest distributed responsability ill suited to centralised governance.
  • Our focus on responsibility and justice reorients the problem to re-design rather than accommodation.

Pre-print is freely available below and the published paper is available at


Neighbourhood batteries are a new scale of energy storage that has the potential to transform the energy system in Australia, and elsewhere. This paper reports on a research project that aimed to uncover the potential benefits and harms or risks that this technology could engender. In recent years, energy researchers have grappled with incorporating practices of responsible research from different conceptual standpoints including value-sensitive design (VSD), responsible research and innovation (RRI) and energy justice. Jenkins et al. (2021) synthesised these three approaches and suggested opportunities for future integration. Our research project, involving qualitative research with energy professionals and citizens, considers elements of all three approaches, presenting an ideal opportunity to reflect on integration and the gaps that remain. We argue for collective efforts to ensure this scale of storage not only does not exacerbate energy injustice, but also enables an energy system that better reflects Australians’ desires for a clean and fair energy system. Our research revealed that a priority for decision-makers is a consideration of how benefits will be decided and distributed and risks mitigated.