A social network perspective on involvement in community energy initiatives: The role of direct and extended social ties to initiators

Fleur Goedkoop*, Jacob Dijkstra, Andreas Flache

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
130 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates the role of social networks in influencing individuals' decision whether to participate in a community energy initiative (CEI), by incorporating different types of social contact between community members and CEI initiators. Engagement of community members is crucial for the success of a CEI and thus a key question is how the initiators can reach community members and stimulate involvement. By analyzing the community's social network we investigate how the structure of social ties between community members and initiators influences participation. We take both existence and number of strong and weak direct personal ties into account. In addition, we investigate the role of extended ties community members have to initiators, operationalized via indirect links through co-memberships of local associations. Data were obtained from eight communities in the Netherlands where a CEI was recently initiated (N = 467 respondents). Our results demonstrate that community members' willingness to participate in a CEI is positively associated with direct ties to the initiators, both weak and strong, but there is no association with extended ties to initiators. Possible strategies of how initiators might best utilize their social ties are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113260
Number of pages15
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2022


  • Renewable energy
  • Community energy initiatives
  • Initiative involvement
  • Social networks

Cite this