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Comparing drivers, barriers, and opportunities of business models for renewable energies: A review


  • Engelken, Maximilian
  • Römer, Benedikt
  • Drescher, Marcus
  • Welpe, Isabell M.
  • Picot, Arnold


This article systematically reviews the emerging field of research on business models for renewable energies, differentiating between developing and industrialized countries. The key findings on developing countries are as follows: first, there is a lack of quantitative data; second, opportunities are driven primarily by unfulfilled basic needs and micro-finance, whereas corruption and weak electricity grids are the main barriers; and third, business models should be replicable. The key findings on industrialized countries are as follows: first, opportunities are driven primarily by climate change mitigation and energy efficiency improvements; second, stuck thought patterns and high costs of energy storage are important barriers; and third, cooperation is a key in future business models to handle increasing complexity. This review reveals implications for researchers and policy-makers. Promising avenues for future research are the analysis of intermodal business models and opportunities concerning energy self-supply and renewable district heating. Policy-makers are advised to design legal frameworks that account for the global nature of the renewable energy challenge and are simultaneously adapted to regional disparities.

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  • Engelken, Maximilian & Römer, Benedikt & Drescher, Marcus & Welpe, Isabell M. & Picot, Arnold, 2016. "Comparing drivers, barriers, and opportunities of business models for renewable energies: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 795-809.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:60:y:2016:i:c:p:795-809
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2015.12.163

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    1. Engelken, Maximilian & Römer, Benedikt & Drescher, Marcus & Welpe, Isabell, 2016. "Transforming the energy system: Why municipalities strive for energy self-sufficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 365-377.
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    5. Mboumboue, Edouard & Njomo, Donatien, 2016. "Potential contribution of renewables to the improvement of living conditions of poor rural households in developing countries: Cameroon׳s case study," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 266-279.
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    11. Jeslin Drusila Nesamalar, J. & Venkatesh, P. & Charles Raja, S., 2017. "The drive of renewable energy in Tamilnadu: Status, barriers and future prospect," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 115-124.
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    18. Donal Brown & Paula Kivimaa & Steve Sorrell, 2018. "How Can Intermediaries Promote Business Model Innovation: The Case of ‘Energiesprong’ Whole-House Retrofits in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Netherlands," SPRU Working Paper Series 2018-19, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    19. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:12:p:4510-:d:186571 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Roth, Lucas & Lowitzsch, Jens & Yildiz, Özgür & Hashani, Alban, 2016. "The impact of (co-) ownership of renewable energy production facilities on demand flexibility," MPRA Paper 73562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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