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Between grassroots and treetops: Community power and institutionaldependence in the renewable energy sector in Denmark, Sweden and theNetherlands
Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Management Research.
Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Management Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1443-4999
Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Management Research.
Aalborg University, Department of Development and Planning.
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2017 (English)In: Energy Research & Social Science, ISSN 2214-6296, E-ISSN 2214-6326, Vol. 37, 52-64 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The speed and progress of transitions towards renewable energy systems varies greatly between Europeanmember states. Among others, these differences have been attributed to the emergence of grassroots initiatives(GIs) that develop radical ideas and sustainable practices. The goal of this paper is to understand the differencesin the emergence of GIs for renewable energy in relation to the institutional characteristics of Denmark, theNetherlands and Sweden. We analyze the possibilities of GIs to emerge and act within three dimensions: thematerial-economic, the actor-institutional and discursive dimension. We conclude that conditional factors liewithin the material-economic dimension in terms of the biophysical conditions, the structure of the economy,energy dependency and the energy market. Within the actor-institutional dimension, we conclude that thepresence or absence of fossil fuel incumbents, such as regional utilities, strongly influence the possibilities of GIs.Within the discursive dimension, openness for alternative discourses proved to be enabling for GI-activities, aswell as democratized knowledge production. In addition to these conditions of possibility, GIs can also actdespite dominant institutions, albeit limited. Finally, GIs need a strong network with knowledge institutes,technology developers and political parties in order to achieve institutional change that enables GIs to flourish.Without institutional space, GIs remain subjected to the dominant power-relations, and cannot exert much influenceupon the energy system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 37, 52-64 p.
Keyword [en]
Grassroots initiatives, Renewable energy transition, Institutional change, Conditions of possibility
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-141180DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2017.09.019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-141180DiVA: diva2:1144440
Projects
“Mobilizing grassroots capacities for sustainable energy transitions: path improvement or pathchange?” - funded by The Swedish Research Council Formas through JPI – Climate Joint Call for Transnational Collaborative Research Projects, Societal Transformation in the Face of Climate Change
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, Dnr 2014-1715
Available from: 2017-09-26 Created: 2017-09-26 Last updated: 2017-10-10

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The full text will be freely available from 2019-05-31 14:55
Available from 2019-05-31 14:55

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf