Glossary: Public Participants

Active citizens

Citizens who take an active role in addressing energy and climate change-related issues on their own terms.

Active communities

A community that takes an active role in addressing energy and climate change-related issues on their own terms – typically engaged in so called bottom-up or grassroots innovation processes.


People with a strong belief in desired social, political, economic, or environmental change that take part in activities and events, such as public protests, to try to make this happen.

Affected communities

A community directly affected by a decision and/or development – often in a shared local area or place.

Aggregate population

A sample of individuals selected to be statistically representative of a wider population.


Relatively passive recipients, listeners, and/or spectators of energy or climate-related communications.

Consulted publics

Members of the public taking part in a consultation process organised by a decision authority.


Individuals, often assumed to be rational actors, that consume energy or products with a carbon footprint. Located ‘downstream’ in the energy system, with a set range of choices available, including the option of self-producing part of their electricity needs.

Innovative citizens

Citizens who actively introduce new ideas, systems, or practices through original and creative thinking.

Interested publics

Individuals interested in specific energy issues or technologies who are actively involved in discussions around these issues.

Lay publics

Members of the public with no pre-defined interest in or specialist knowledge of the issue under discussion.

Special interest group

A group with a special interest in energy or climate-related issues because of special demographic or other characteristic that distinguish them from the general population.


Actors with an interest or active stake in an issue who represent the views of others in groups to which they belong. Usually specialists or practitioners in a field.


Individuals enrolled into using a specific energy or climate-related technology, service or system.