Given the gaps between EU ambitions regarding energy community development and the current reality of clean energy communities in Europe, we explore a research framework enabling viable multi- and interdisciplinary research into new clean energy communities. We offer a definition of new clean energy communities, discuss their potential for wider dissemination and identify four factors that contribute to the current mismatch between ambitions and reality in energy community development. As a broader framework for interdisciplinary research into the field of new clean energy communities, we propose polycentric governance theory, considering the fact that the area of community energy systems is essentially multi-scalar, and that the rules of engagement in such systems are of great significance. This opens up four avenues for research on energy communities, which we outline in terms of enabling institutional contexts, potential for learning and transferability, business models and value propositions, and evaluation of outcomes and processes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Grant agreement number 837752.
© 2021 The Authors
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Business model innovation
- Energy communities
- Energy transitions
- Polycentric governance
- Social value creation
- Socio-technical innovation