From kilowatts to cents: Financial inclusion of citizens through Dutch community energy business model configurations

Aamina Teladia*, Esther van der Waal, Jasmijn Brouwer, Henny van der Windt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Community energy initiatives (CEIs) emphasize citizen empowerment, equitable distribution of energy transition
costs and benefits, and the importance of local knowledge. While CEI goals align with energy justice principles,
they have been criticized for not fully incorporating distributive justice, particularly the distribution of the
benefits of a sustainable energy transition. Therefore, they may potentially perpetuate income inequalities. There
are insufficient studies to conclusively determine whether CEIs perpetuate or address income inequalities.
Moreover, the integration of transition studies, energy justice and business model literature is lacking, hindering
effective analysis of CEI configurations that address income inequalities. This paper aims to connect the sustainability, energy justice and business model literature by dissecting the business model configurations of CEIs
and assessing the inclusiveness of these components. To do so, we develop and employ an adapted business
model canvas that incorporates societal and environmental considerations in the value proposition, value creation and delivery and value capture. The canvas is used to determine whether sustainability and energy justice
considerations, particularly distributive justice principles, are embedded in the CEI business models. The
research is focused on the Netherlands, a country with a high number of CEIs. However, the study may yield
insights relevant to other countries and CEIs, informing the integration of principles for societal inclusion in their
own contexts. We utilize a mixed-method approach, including interviews, desk research and surveys, to ensure
robust analysis through data triangulation. The study finds that there are elements of CEI business model configurations that are aligned with energy justice principles. However, models specifically targeting and aligning
with minimum income social groups are rare.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103322
Number of pages20
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Volume106
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2023

Keywords

  • Inclusive business model
  • community energy
  • Energy justice
  • Social business models
  • InclusiveSustainable business models

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