The progress of renewable energy community initiatives within the Netherlands and the UK, from a strategic niche management perspective

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Within recent decades, the occurrence of community initiatives has become progressively notable across Europe, with aims of providing renewable energy, in order to tackle this prevailing challenge. Conversely, inadequate comparative research has been conducted regarding the processes and conditions necessary for such initiatives to strive and create an effectual impact on wider energy systems. Consequently, a comparative case-study was piloted between six RE community initiatives: Drumlin Cooperative, Westmill Cooperative, Alt Dearg Wind Farm, Hockerton Housing Project within the UK, and Nijmegen Betuwe and Zuidenwind within the Netherlands. The cases were a forum to answer the following research question: “What are the overarching drivers for change in community initiatives for renewable energy within the Netherlands and the UK and how do these compare from the theoretical perspective of a Strategic Niche Management outlook?” Consequently, every case was analysed relative to the Strategic Niche Management framework in order to derive factors which initiated such changes in their system of energy. The three predominant aspects proposed by Kemp et al. (1998) postulate for being crucial for technology-centred niches (building networks, managing expectations and learning processes) are seemingly appropriate for ‘social’ niche innovations. Every individual case in the study addressed all three of the aspects successfully, albeit with differentiating intensities and priorities to a specific degree. This has facilitated these initiatives to tackle and overcome many of the standard obstacles that such bottom-up organizations are characteristically challenged with.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen