New clean energy communities in polycentric settings: Four avenues for future research

Julia Blasch*, NM van der Grijp, Daniel Petrovics, Jenny Palm, Nancy Bocken, Sarah Darby, Jake Barnes, Paula Hansen, Tanja Kamin, Urša Golob, Mark Andor, Stephan Sommer, Agatino Nicita, Monica Musolino, Maša Mlinarič

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102276
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Early online date30 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Grant agreement number 837752.

Publisher Copyright:
© 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


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