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PhD ceremony ms. F. Goedkoop. Involvement in bottom-up energy transitions: The role of local and contextual embeddedness.

When:Th 15-04-2021 at 16:15
Where:Academy building RUG

PhD ceremony: Ms F. (Fleur) Goedkoop
When: April 15, 2021
Start: 16:15
Supervisor: prof. dr. A. (Andreas) Flache
Co-supervisor: dr. J. (Jacob) Dijkstra
Where: Academy building RUG
Faculty: Behavioural and Social Sciences

Many bottom-up community energy initiatives (CEIs) have been initiated in recent years, aiming to promote a sustainable energy transition. CEIs operate in local communities and entail collaboration towards achieving a common community goal. Setting up a successful CEI requires the involvement of a sufficient number of community members. This raises the question of why people become involved in these initiatives. For this thesis, data was collected in various communities in the Netherlands, scrutinizing the role the local community and the social interactions within it play for involvement in CEIs. Results show that the specific expectation regarding fellow community members’ participation, connections to initiators and involvement in the community were found to be related to involvement in a CEI. These findings suggest that initiative involvement is inherently social and people are not only motivated to become involved in a CEI because of its pro-environmental cause, but are (additionally) motivated by the local social context of the community.

Furthermore, there is an international trend to encourage the shared ownership of renewable energy projects between communities and commercial developers based on the assumption that they can form effective partnerships and can negotiate fair outcomes, potentially speeding up the energy transition. Yet, it remains unclear how such arrangements are formed in practice. Based on in-depth interviews with UK stakeholders from various backgrounds, this dissertation provides insights into the formation of shared ownership arrangements and the role of trust and justice in shaping practice. Findings suggest that early efforts to make shared ownership work in practice in the UK have proved difficult, despite high levels of support in principle. A consistent finding is that shared ownership is undermined by a lack of trust, with negative expectations of the different parties involved of one another.

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