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Explaining the diversity of motivations behind community renewable energy

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  • Bauwens, Thomas

Abstract

Community-based renewable energy initiatives may be important actors in the transition toward low-carbon energy systems. In turn, stimulating investments in renewable energy production at the community level requires a better understanding of investors' motives. This paper aims to study the heterogeneity of motivations that drive individuals to participate in community renewable energy projects and the underlying explanatory factors behind this, as well as the implications for their level of engagement in initiatives. Based on quantitative data from an original survey conducted with two renewable energy cooperatives in Flanders, the statistical analysis shows that cooperative members should not be considered as one homogeneous group. Several categories of members with different motives and levels of engagement can be distinguished. This heterogeneity is explained by contrasts in terms of institutional settings, spatial patterns and attitudes to the diffusion of institutional innovations. Regarding policy implications, the findings suggest that this heterogeneity should be taken into account in designing more effective supporting policies to stimulate investments at the community level. The activation of social norms is also shown to be a promising mechanism for triggering investment decisions, although the implications of its interplay with economic incentives should be further explored.

Suggested Citation

  • Bauwens, Thomas, 2016. "Explaining the diversity of motivations behind community renewable energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 278-290.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:93:y:2016:i:c:p:278-290 DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.03.017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chiara Candelise & Gianluca Ruggieri, 2017. "Community Energy in Italy: Heterogeneous institutional characteristics and citizens engagement," IEFE Working Papers 93, IEFE, Center for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    2. Kirchherr, Julian & Matthews, Nathanial & Charles, Katrina J. & Walton, Matthew J., 2017. "“Learning it the Hard Way”: Social safeguards norms in Chinese-led dam projects in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 529-539.
    3. Holstenkamp, Lars & Kahla, Franziska, 2016. "What are community energy companies trying to accomplish? An empirical investigation of investment motives in the German case," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 112-122.
    4. repec:eee:enepol:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:547-559 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:enepol:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:560-578 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:ecolec:v:137:y:2017:i:c:p:163-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:7:p:1260-:d:104986 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:669-677 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Fontina Petrakopoulou, 2017. "The Social Perspective on the Renewable Energy Autonomy of Geographically Isolated Communities: Evidence from a Mediterranean Island," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-8, February.
    10. Kahla, Franziska & Holstenkamp, Lars & Müller, Jakob R. & Degenhart, Heinrich, 2017. "Entwicklung und Stand von Bürgerenergiegesellschaften und Energiegenossenschaften in Deutschland
      [Development and State of Community Energy Companies and Energy Cooperatives in Germany]
      ," MPRA Paper 81261, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Salm, Sarah & Hille, Stefanie Lena & Wüstenhagen, Rolf, 2016. "What are retail investors' risk-return preferences towards renewable energy projects? A choice experiment in Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 310-320.

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