Polycentric energy governance: Under what conditions do energy communities scale?

Daniel Petrovics*, Dave Huitema, Andrew Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


As the polycentric nature of climate governance becomes ever more apparent, understanding the role played by individual initiatives becomes an increasingly urgent research priority. In recent years, community initiatives have blossomed in relation to clean energy, both in their overall number and diversity. Polycentric governance thinking offers a powerful but incomplete account of how and why such initiatives emerge, grow, and replicate in different contexts, that is, how they “scale.” This article investigates the conditions under which different clean energy communities scale. Based on a systematic literature review, it identifies 23 separate conditions, which are subsequently categorized into what happens within, between and in the context of individual initiatives. As well as enriching polycentric governance thinking, this article identifies practical ways to inform and facilitate the emergence of new community initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-449
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Nicolien van der Grijp for reviewing an earlier version of this article. This work was supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Programme (grant agreement #: 837752 – NEWCOMERS project).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Environmental Policy and Governance published by ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • climate change
  • community energy
  • polycentric governance
  • scaling


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