The rapid increase in GHG emissions corresponds with the increased combustion of fossil fuels primarily by the energy supply sector at 85% (IPCC, 2014). Science has identified the problem and it also provides the solutions, among which is the critical transformation to low-carbon intensity renewable energy (RE) in the energy supply sector. The RE industry is recognized for its 1 to 10% ratio of carbon intensity to a unit of energy output when compared to fossil fuels (IPCC, 2014).
More recently, emerging literature has opened a debate about the role that power and politics may play in the resistance to the socio-technical transition to low-carbon technologies.
For the energy sector, the socio-technical systems are characterized by various elements. In addition to social norms that favor continuous production of the energy sector, key elements of this sector are the energy generation, transmission, and delivery infrastructures.
The stakeholders of the energy sector can be societal, technical, legislative, regulatory, or political. Their interactions result in dominant practices, rules, and technologies which aim at maintaining stability and reinforcing prevailing socio-technical systems that favor existing pillars of the energy sector. Scholars use the term ‘regime’ for the interactions of actors that seek the status quo of the energy sector socio-technical systems.
In comparison to socio-technical transitions to other technologies, the transition to low-carbon energy requires large-scale transformations within society or important subsystems through which the structure of the societal systems changes fundamentally. Other challenges for the transformation of the global energy supply to RE include high investment costs for RE infrastructure, corruption, bureaucracy, and mismanagement of energy resources, oil-backed loans, population growth and increasing per-capita energy demand.
One of the solutions to create windows of opportunities for actors that enable the socio-technical transition to clean and sustainable energy is encouraging manifestation of energy democracy principles. The Balkans is a transitioning region wherein hopes for democracy were born but the struggle to enjoy it still remains. The last struggle to build democracy is in Kosovo and Kosovo’s path to its own vision of sustainable development can become an excellent model for the region and the world. In Kosovo, a socio-technical transition to renewable energy through principles of energy democracy can tackle unemployment, progress education, reduce health risks associated with coal usage, and overall sustain a healthy human ecology.