MSc Thesis Defense - Gunnlaug Helga Ásgeirsdóttir

MSc Energy Science

  • 29.5.2023, 14:00 - 15:00, Háskólinn í Reykjavík

Monday, May 29th at 14:00 Gunnlaug Helga Ásgeirsdóttir will defend her 60 ECTS thesis "THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DEMOCRACY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY TRANSITION IN ICELAND". The defense will take place in M208 and all are welcome.

Student: Gunnlaug Helga Ásgeirsdóttir
Supervisor: Randall Morgan Green
Examiner: Jón Geir Pétursson

Iceland is one of the countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement and aims for carbon
neutrality by 2040. To reach Iceland’s climate goals, discussion on energy transition has been
prominent. However, the country is far from reaching carbon neutrality as Iceland’s emissions
in 2022 have increased by 5.8% since 1990. In this study, public involvement in environmental
decision-making in Iceland is examined. In the context of this study, the public can be one or
more individuals or legal entities, their associations, societies, or groups. The study aims to
analyse different stakeholders’ perspectives in Icelandic society and map the public’s rights to
participate in environmental decision-making. It questions how involved the public is in
environmental decision-making when it comes to renewable energy transition in Iceland, how
responsive the government in Iceland is to citizen’s concerns and to what extent the current
and future energy policy emphasize the term ‘energy justice’. To fulfil the purpose of the study,
literature review, empirical- and policy analysis was conducted. The empirical analysis is based
on qualitative research where 10 experts in the field of energy, policy and decision-making
were interviewed. The findings indicate that public participation in energy related governance
goes hand in hand with statutory processes, although it may occur at later stages – such as after
the statutory process itself. Furthermore, energy security, division of profit and indeterminate
national resource models are factors that affect ‘energy justice’ and may have a discouraging
effect on the development of new energy projects.

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