Local energy innovators: Collective experimentation for energy transition

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Citizens are increasingly taking control of their energy provision and form energy collectives such as Grunneger Power or BrummenEnergie. By times, they leave the beaten legal, social and technical paths and find innovative solutions. This dissertation investigates the value of these innovations for the Dutch energy transition and makes recommendations to enhance the activities of innovating citizen collectives.
    Central to the investigated collective innovation processes are both the social and the material aspect of innovation, because the focus is on the interaction between the collectives and the energy system. The third aspect I focused on is regulation, because it delimits the institutional space for innovation and thus largely determines the playing field within which innovations are developed and must function. I looked at the mutual dynamics of these three aspects within the current cooperative movement, but also at the time of electrification. Even then, the Netherlands already had energy cooperatives.
    The main conclusions from this research are three roles that energy collectives can play in the development and embedding of energy innovations: 1) making new technologies more widely accessible, 2) creating locally and supra locally applicable learning experiences, and 3) acting as a local antenna that picks up context-related opportunities and values. The most feasible and most successful turned out to be characterized by sufficiently supportive policy, cooperation with actors with similar or complementary interests, proper assessment of what could be done by the initiative itself and what could better be outsourced.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • van der Windt, Henny, Supervisor
    • Herber, M.A., Supervisor, External person
    • van Oost, Ellen C. J., Co-supervisor, External person
    • Beaulieu, J.A., Co-supervisor, External person
    Award date26-Mar-2021
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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