Improving understanding of energy autonomy: A systematic review

Jouni K. Juntunen*, Mari Martiskainen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
214 Downloads (Pure)


Autonomy is often cited as a key aspect of energy systems. Previous academic literature on energy autonomy has predominantly approached it from a technological perspective, and conceptualized it as self-sufficiency of energy production. In addition to self-sufficiency, autonomous energy users and communities often aim to create energy systems that treat different stakeholders as equals, with a balanced distribution of costs and benefits. This paper has two aims. First, it aims to clarify the concept of ‘energy autonomy’. Second, it aims to provide an overview of existing literature addressing energy autonomy, identifying relevant publications and publication outlets, as well as main research themes and activities. The results, based on a systematic review of 71 peer-reviewed academic articles, show that energy autonomy research has increased in the last twenty years. The results also show how existing literature has understood, and used, the concept of energy autonomy in varying ways. Furthermore, the paper reveals how motivations, technologies, and scales differ in energy autonomy projects. While the aim of reaching energy autonomy is often motivated by economic and/or social reasons, these aspects are nevertheless rarely discussed in academic literature as the predominant focus tends to be on technological issues and self-sufficiency. The paper concludes with energy policy implications and avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110797
Number of pages10
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date15 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


  • Energy autonomy
  • Energy democracy
  • Energy policy
  • Renewable energy
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Systematic review


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