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The role of institutional entrepreneurship in emerging energy communities: The town of St. Peter in Germany
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies. Univ Freiburg, Inst Environm Social Sci & Geog, Chair Environm Governance, Freiburg, Germany..
2019 (English)In: Renewable & sustainable energy reviews, ISSN 1364-0321, E-ISSN 1879-0690, Vol. 107, p. 297-308Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper provides insights from the extant literature on institutional entrepreneurship in emerging fields which could enable us to understand how the innovative idea of 'energy community' arose, became new practices, and has been institutionalized over time. In August 2008, the people of St. Peter, a Black Forest rural town in Germany, decided to build their own energy co-operative for the operation of the biomass District Heating Plant (DHP). The key driving forces for this comprised a wide range of sustainability-related discourses, such as climate protection, energy supply security, and regional economic development. The biomass DHP, as an environmentally-friendly heating system, has become a taken-for-granted practice and has been presented as an `inspirational' example to other communities in the region. The main contribution of this study is to develop and use a multi-level analytical framework to elucidate the process of legitimation and sense-making of the notion of the energy community St. Peter. The key conclusions are that institutional entrepreneurs are dispersed across space, social status, sector, and governance levels; their agency is distributed among multiple levels of action and multiple stages of development; and they use a range of social skills to justify their action for institutional change. Therefore, community-based initiatives should draw on multiple discourses that address both individual interests (stable prices and supply security) and collective concerns (environmental protection). In this way, wide public support for transforming existing energy practices into more renewable ones can be achieved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD , 2019. Vol. 107, p. 297-308
Keywords [en]
Institutional entrepreneurship, Emerging fields, Agency, Structuration, Renewable energy practices, Local energy transition
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-249762DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2019.03.011ISI: 000463342600021Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85062840755OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-249762DiVA, id: diva2:1307664
Note

QC 20190429

Available from: 2019-04-29 Created: 2019-04-29 Last updated: 2019-04-29Bibliographically approved

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