Accepted Paper:

Exploring the Dutch community energy sector's socio-technical innovation potential   


Esther van der Waal (University of Groningen)
Henny van der Windt (University of Groningen)

Paper short abstract:

Community-owned renewable energy (CORE) seems to be a field in which social and technological innovation coincide. Explored is the socio-technical innovation potential of Dutch CORE in the light of recently appearing cooperations between developers of renewable technologies and community groups.

Paper long abstract:

Although still relatively modest compared to classic fore-runners as Denmark and Germany, Dutch community-owned renewable energy (CORE) is increasingly establishing itself as player in the Netherlands' energy sector. This paper is to give an overview of the Dutch community energy sector's current technological innovation potential, aiming to contribute to theory development within socio-technological transitions literature, and specifically Strategic Niche Management. It furthers the understanding of the extent to which collective civic experiments with renewable energy - in academic literature predominantly described as a social innovation - can influence, co-create, and possibly even enhance the development and dissemination of emergent, innovative RE technologies by offering local seedbeds for experimentation and early adoption. Central is a focus on the interaction between social and technological niche innovations in the Dutch community energy sector. After assessing the current innovativeness of the Dutch community energy sector, 8 case studies of Dutch energy experiments will be discussed, covering a spectrum ranging from low to high socio-technological innovativeness (2 highly socially innovative and modestly technologically innovative; 2 highly technologically innovative and modestly socially innovative; 2 both highly socially and technologically innovative; and 2 both modestly socially and modestly technologically innovative). A specific stress will be on identification of combinations of, and interactions between, project internal and external circumstances influencing the extent to which the community energy initiatives engage in innovation and dissemination of emergent RE technologies.

Panel T098
Energy Experiments