School of Social and Political Science

Dr Kirsten E H Jenkins

Job Title

Lecturer in Energy, Environment and Society

Kirsten Jenkins' photo

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Chisholm House

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High School Yards

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Dr Kirsten Jenkins is an early career Lecturer in Energy, Environment and Society within the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) group of the School of Social and Political Sciences. Kirsten is also the Programme Director for the cross-college Energy, Society and Sustainability MSc programme, which is run in partnership with the School of Geosciences.

Kirsten’s background is as a sustainable development and human geography scholar, with research and teaching interests that centre on energy justice; just transitions; energy policy; science, technology and innovations studies; transitions theory and sustainable energy provision and use.

Prior to joining STIS, Kirsten held positions as a Lecturer in Human Geography and Sustainable Development within the School of Environment and Technology (SET) at the University of Brighton and as a Research Fellow in Energy Justice in the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED), part of the Science and Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex. Kirsten defended her Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded Ph.D. at the University of St Andrews in December 2016.

As additional responsibilities, Kirsten coordinates the 2100-member Energy and Social Science Network and the Energy Justice JISC mailing list. She also serves as Managing Editor for the journal Energy Research & Social Science and Associate Fellow of the Durham Energy Institute at the University of Durham.

Kirsten has published extensively in the fields of energy and social science and has worked on projects funded by the RCUK Energy Programme, Norwegian Research Council, CREDS and the ESRC. She is external examiner to postgraduate programmes in Development, Environment and Policy at SOAS University of London.

Undergraduate Teaching

Her primary responsibility is to convene the third year Energy Policy and Sustainability course. She also contributes guest lectures to Science, Nature and Environment and Investigating Science in Society.

Postgraduate Teaching

Kirsten is Programme Director for the MSc in Energy, Society and Sustainability, alongside Dr Laura Watts as Programme Co-Director.  She coordinates the dissertation process and contributes to the Energy, Policy and Politics course. 

You can find all of her publications on Google Scholar, ResearchGate or PURE. If you'd like access to a particular file, please do email Kirsten directly.

Research interests

Research interests

My research interests focus on all things “energy” and particularly, on the social justice issues created by its production and use. In the context of the energy transitions, I am interested in knowing how we can make ethically sound energy decisions that: (1) locate energy infrastructure equitably, where possible, (2) recognise the correct people and their needs, and (3) uses appropriate decision-making techniques. I believe that we should ask these questions across the energy system to ensure that no social groups are disadvantaged by our energy choices. To illustrate what I mean, do we acknowledge the rights of uranium mining and the impacts of it on foreign landscapes when we make the decision to proceed with nuclear energy in the UK? And given the comparatively high price for nuclear energy gained from the new Hinkley Point C reactor and others that will follow, have we considered how this will affect consumer affordability?

In order to ascertain the potential answers to these questions, I undertake both empirical and conceptual work looking at a range of case studies, including nuclear energy in the UK, Scottish wind energy and going forward, the implementation of smart technologies.

Current Projects

Fuel and transport poverty in the UK’s energy transition (FAIR) (1/01/20 → 31/12/22): Through equity and justice investigations, this project will examine the intersections between fuel and transport poverty, and low carbon energy transitions, in the United Kingdom.

Project team:

  • Dr Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex (PI)
  • Professor Stefan Bouzarovski, University of Manchester
  • Dr Debbie Hopkins, University of Oxford
  • Dr Kirsten Jenkins, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Paul McKenzie, University of Ulster
  • Dr Neil Simcock, Liverpool John Moores University
  • Professor Benjamin Sovacool, University of Sussex

INCLUsive Decarbonization and Energy transition (INCLUDE) (Starting January 2020): The goal of INCLUDE aims to develop knowledge-based solutions that can facilitate a just and socially inclusive low-carbon energy transition. Participatory processes involving municipalities, citizens and energy corporations – 23 different user-partners in total - will be a key part of the centre’s work. The centre will be led by Professor Tanja Winther of the University of Oslo (UiO), with six main research partners: The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI), the Arctic University of Norway (UiT), CICERO Center for International Climate Research, The Institute of Transport Economics (TØI), OsloMet and Durham University, UK. I will be working with the Durham team.

Oil and Gas Transition: Building evidence for policy action in the UK, Norway and Denmark (15/01/21 → 15/04/23)

The grant aims to develop a better understanding of oil and gas transition scenarios for the North Sea region (Denmark, Norway and the UK), establish buy-in from key stakeholders and enable collaboration to scale up innovation and early-stage just transition efforts in the oil and gas sector.

Project team:

  • Dr Kirsten Jenkins, University of Edinburgh
  • Mr Navraj Ghaleigh Singh, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Stuart Haszeldine, University of Edinburgh

PhD Topics

I am interested in supervising PhD applicants on topics related to energy justice, the Just Transition, energy policy and energy transitions, especially from a STIS (Science, Technology and Innovation Studies) analytical perspective.

Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with: (opening in new windows)

Current PhD Students

  • Lara Santos Ayllon, Ph.D. candidate. 'Justice and responsible research and innovation: Informing marine renewable and hydrogen innovation and deployment in island communities’ (First supervisor)
  • Rebecca Grant, Ph.D. candidate. ‘The geographies of energy justice: assessing the implications of social update in Kenya’. ESRC 1+3 Studentship (Second Supervisor)
  • Alice Owen, Ph.D. candidate. ‘Drilling through the anthropocene: fracking, land and expertise in contemporary Britain’. Women’s environmental Global Organisation for community wellbeing (WeGO-ETN), Horizon 2020 consortium (External Supervisor for University of Brighton)
  • Lillian Sol Cueva, Ph.D. candidate. ‘Women's imaginaries: Futuring energy in Mexico City's Public Markets' (External Supervisor for Erasmus University of Rotterdam)
  • Adolfo Mejia-Montero, Ph.D. candidate. 'Energy justice and utility-scale wind power in the Isthmus: Context, Resistance and Identity'. (Completed)

Staff Hours and Guidance

Semester 1 and semester 2 (2021/2022): Please email directly for an appointment (with or without bonus terriers).

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Melin A, Day R, Jenkins KEH. Energy justice and the capability approach—Introduction to the Special Issue. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. 2021 Apr 14;22(2):185-196.
Melin A, (ed.), Day R, (ed.), Jenkins KEH, (ed.). Energy justice and the capability approach. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. 2021 Apr 14;22(2):185-378.
Jenkins K, Sovacool BK, Mouter N, Hacking N, Burns M-K, McCauley D. The methodologies, geographies, and technologies of energy justice: A systematic and comprehensive review. Environmental Research Letters. 2021 Mar 30;16(4):1-25. 043009.
Mejía Montero A, Lane M, van der Horst D, Jenkins K. Grounding the energy justice lifecycle framework: An exploration of utility-scale wind power in Oaxaca, Mexico. Energy Research & Social Science. 2021 Mar 17;75. 102017.
Martiskainen M, Sovacool B, Lacey-Barnacle M, Hopkins D, Jenkins K, Simcock N et al. New dimensions of vulnerability to energy and transport poverty. Joule. 2020 Dec 18.
Jenkins K, Sovacool B, Błachowicz A, Lauer A. Politicising the Just Transition: Linking global climate policy, Nationally Determined Contributions and targeted research agendas. Geoforum. 2020 Aug 19;115:138-142.
Jenkins K, Spruit S, Milchram C, Höffken J, Taebi B. Synthesizing value sensitive design, responsible research and innovation, and energy justice: A conceptual review. Energy Research & Social Science. 2020 Aug 13;69. 101727.
Sovacool B, Bergman N, Hopkins D, Jenkins K, Hielscher S, Goldthau A et al. Imagining sustainable energy and mobility transitions: Valence, temporality, and radicalism in 38 visions of a low-carbon future. Social Studies of Science. 2020 May 6.
Jenkins K, Stephens J, Reames T, Hernandez D. Towards impactful energy justice research: Transforming the power of academic engagement. Energy Research & Social Science. 2020 Mar 24;67. 101510.
Bombaerts G, (ed.), Jenkins K, (ed.), Sanusi Y, (ed.), Guoyu W, (ed.). Energy Justice Across Borders. Springer, 2019. 305 p.
Bombaerts G, Jenkins K, Sanusi Y, Guoyu W. Expanding justice across borders: The role of global philosophy. In Bombaerts G, Jenkins K, Sanusi Y, Guoyu W, editors, Energy Justice Across Borders. Springer. 2019. p. 3-21
Jenkins K, Samarakoon S, Munro P. Energy economics as an energy justice dilemma: Case studies of normative trade-offs in Malawi, Mexico and Germany. In Soytaş U, Sarı R, editors, Routledge Handbook of Energy Economics. 1 ed. London: Routledge. 2019. p. 317-327
Jonathan K, Geels F, Kern F, Markard J, Onsongo E, Wieczorek A et al. An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. 2019 Jan 31;31:1-32.
Monyei CG, Sovacool BK, Brown MA, Jenkins KEH, Viriri S, Li Y. Justice, poverty, and electricity decarbonization. The Electricity Journal. 2019 Jan;32(1):47-51.
Monyei C, Jenkins K. Electrons have no identity: Setting right misrepresentations in Google and Apple’s clean energy purchasing. Energy Research & Social Science. 2018 Dec;46:48-51.
Jenkins K, (ed.), Hopkins D, (ed.). Transitions in Energy Efficiency and Demand: The Emergence, Diffusion and Impact of Low-Carbon Innovation. 1 ed. Routledge, 2018. 280 p. (Routledge Studies in Energy Transitions).
Monyei C, Adewumi AO, Jenkins K. Energy (in)justice in off-grid rural electrification policy: South Africa in focus. Energy Research & Social Science. 2018 Oct;44:152-171.
Monyei C, Jenkins K, Viriri S, Adewumi AO. Policy discussion for sustainable integrated electricity expansion in South Africa. Energy Policy. 2018 Sep;120:132-143.
Monyei C, Jenkins K, Serestina V, Adewumi AO. Examining energy sufficiency and energy mobility in the global south through the energy justice framework. Energy Policy. 2018 Aug;119:68-76.
Jenkins K, Sovacool B, McCauley D. Humanizing sociotechnical transitions through energy justice: An ethical framework for global transformative change. Energy Policy. 2018 Jun;117:66-74.
Jenkins K. Setting energy justice apart from the crowd: Lessons from environmental and climate justice. Energy Research & Social Science. 2018 May;39:117-121.
Geels F, Schwanen T, Jenkins K, Sorrell S. Reducing energy demand through low carbon innovation: A sociotechnical transitions perspective and thirteen research debates. Energy Research & Social Science. 2017 Dec 22;40:23-35.
Sovacool B, Kivimaa P, Hielscher S, Jenkins K. Vulnerability and resistance in the United Kingdom's smart meter transition. Energy Policy. 2017 Oct;109:767-781.
Jenkins K, McCauley D, Warren C. Attributing responsibility for energy justice: A case study of the Hinkley Point Nuclear Complex. Energy Policy. 2017 Sep;108:836-843.
Jenkins K, McCauley D, Forman A. Energy justice: A policy approach. Energy Policy. 2017 Feb 3;105:631-634.
Jenkins K, McCauley D, Heffron R, Stephan H, Rehner R. Energy justice: A conceptual review. Energy Research & Social Science. 2016 Jan;11:174-182.