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Berlin Sustainability Talk: Explaining community energy potential for social innovation: A situational analysis approach to an international comparison

14.06.2017 | 16:15 - 17:45

In dem öffentlichen Colloquium Berlin Sustainability Talk werden aktuelle Forschungen zur Analyse von Umwelt- und Nachhaltigkeitspolitiken vorgestellt. Vortragende geben eine Einführung zu aktuellen laufenden, geplanten oder frisch abgeschlossenen Forschungen und stellen diese zur Diskussion. Eine Anmeldung ist nicht erforderlich.


Am 14.06.2017 wird Arwen Colell zum Thema Explaining community energy potential for social innovation: A situational analysis approach to an international comparison einen Vortrag halten.



Community energy drives the transition of energy systems in front runners such as Scotland, Denmark and Germany but is also recognized in countries yet less advanced in this transition process such as England. Previous research has focused on community energy projects as strategic niches of renewable energy implementation and acceptance building. Community energy was researched predominantly as actor, scale or place. Yet, its contribution to sustainability transitions by providing experimental spaces of innovation in social practice remains underresearched and undertheorized. Questions of community energy as identity, process and network were neglected. This disregards the potential of community energy as innovative social practices, as well as the expression and reproduction of expanded concepts of citizenship.


This PhD project is based on situational analyses of community energy in England, Scotland, Denmark and Germany as innovative social practices of sustainability transitions. Often underlying ideas of community energy projects as homogeneous and stable entities are questioned and expounded.

Instead, community energy projects are understood as ambivalent, complex, and dynamic processes.

Community energy projects are analyzed for their potential for social

innovation: intentional changes in socio-economic (power) relations through novel solutions and processes. It is argued that community energy projects provide modes of expressing and operationalizing alternative concepts of citizenship. Beyond expanding the role for community energy in sustainability transitions, this enables an improved understanding of the influence of energy politics on processes of social change.


The analysis and comparison of projects in front runner states with significant shares of community owned renewable energies both extends the understanding of the contribution of community energy to international leadership in energy transitions as well as underscores the relevance of acknowledging the social practices of community energy in policy design.

This is enriched and contrasted by cases from England, comparatively less advanced in its transition to renewable energies.

Zeit & Ort

14.06.2017 | 16:15 - 17:45

Forschungszentrum für Umweltpolitik
Raum 3.1c
Ihnestr. 22
14195 Berlin