LA100 Equity Strategies. Chapter 1: Justice as Recognition

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The LA100 Equity Strategies project synthesizes community guidance with robust research, modeling, and analysis to identify strategy options that can increase equitable outcomes in Los Angeles' clean energy transition. Grounded in the analysis of past and ongoing energy inequities and engagement with underserved communities, the project presents community-guided and community-tailored strategies that aim to operationalize recognition and procedural justice. This chapter focuses on recognition justice, identifying and analyzing past and present social, cultural, and institutional barriers to affordable and clean energy for LA communities, as well as disparities in the distribution of energy system burdens and benefits. Acknowledging historical and structural factors behind current energy inequities is a first step in developing energy equity strategies for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to achieve distributional justice - the just and equitable distribution of energy benefits and burdens in LA's energy transition. Recognition, procedural, and distributional justice are the three tenets of energy justice around which the LA100 Equity Strategies project is organized. In the United States, theory and practice around justice have historically focused on unequal distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. The historical siting of hazardous infrastructure such as power plants and transportation corridors in communities of color and low-income communities has disproportionately concentrated negative environmental impacts in their neighborhoods. Those inequities are reproduced via programs, policies, and other efforts (e.g., zoning and regulations, rebates and incentives, lending, investment, and financing) that directly affect people's lives and livelihoods. In recent decades, energy justice scholars and activists broadened their analysis to examine how environmental inequities intersect with other forms of social difference in the distribution of energy benefits and burdens. This approach investigates how differences in class, race, gender, age, and abilities, among others, intersect to understand the social, cultural, and institutional processes that create and perpetuate energy inequities. The LA100 Equity Strategies project embraces this approach to developing a more just clean energy future for LA. Because recognizing and understanding past and existing inequities is vital to addressing them in ways that ensure an equitable energy transition for all Angelenos, this chapter focuses on identifying and analyzing the challenges and inequities of LA's past and existing energy system, including LADWP programs.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages106
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5400-85948


  • community
  • community engagement
  • equity
  • justice
  • Los Angeles
  • recognition justice


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