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Citizen participation gaps and challenges in the heating transition: Learning from Dutch community initiatives

08 November 2023

The European Union has recognized the significance of community energy initiatives in the energy transition and introduced legislation to promote active consumer participation and renewable energy communities. The Netherlands, with its transition away from natural gas, serves as a valuable case study for understanding the challenges and processes of local ownership and participation in community energy initiatives. The research aims to address the dual challenge of defining local ownership and participation and exploring case-specific applications of these concepts. To achieve this, the study employs the Socio-Ecological Systems Framework and literature on participation, providing a theoretical foundation for analyzing citizen engagement. A mixed-methods approach, including interviews and data collection, is used to examine five Dutch community heating initiatives. The analysis highlights the importance of an enabling participatory environment, inclusive participation, information sharing, and the presence of energy cooperatives for successful citizen engagement. The findings have practical implications for EU energy policy, emphasizing the need for clear definitions, inclusive decision-making processes, and tailored engagement strategies.

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Last modified:27 February 2024 11.04 a.m.

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