Islands in the electric stream: A multi-dimensional index for analyzing electricity islands

Lior Herman*, Yael Parag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper attempts to systematically conceptualize and construct the commonly used term “electricity island,” arguing that no single definition can fully capture this notion. Rather, electricity islands are complex and dynamic, can be located at various points on the spectrum ranging from grid connectivity to isolation, and encompass technical and social as well as material and metaphysical aspects. We propose a multi-criteria index to evaluate the degree of electricity island-ness over six dimensions―technical, material flow, autonomy, operations, services, and perception―and apply this index to examine three different electricity islands: the International Space Station, Amish communities, and the State of Israel. Four categories of concerns and motivations for becoming an island are proposed: climate change; technical and economic parameters; energy security; and lifestyle choices. These motivations are linked to the different aspects of island-ness. The growing concerns over climate change and energy security, coupled with declining costs of PV and batteries, have led to a proliferation of electricity islands of various size and forms. Further conceptual and empirical research is needed to further advance our understanding of electricity island-ness.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number103566
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
StatePublished - Jul 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Amish electricity
  • Electricity island
  • Index
  • International space station
  • Island-ness
  • Israel energy sector
  • Microgrid
  • Off-grid


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