This academic paper explores the meaning of social innovation and how it manifests in the context of energy transitions.
Social and/or cultural impacts > Other
social and technological innovation
Thomas Hoppe, Gerdien de Vries
Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Academic/research institution or journal
The uptick in technological innovation requires new ways of organizing and governing energy supply and systems. This paper seeks to describe social innovation and its implications for energy transitions by analyzing it from the perspectives of behavioral science, social science, and governance. The authors posit that, within the context of an energy transition, social innovations include those that contribute to low-carbon energy transitions, civic empowerment, and social goals pertaining to the general well-being of communities.
The authors then explore common themes that emerged from the 20 article contributions they received for this study. These themes touch on a wide range of topics, including the relationship between technological and social innovation, community-based energy systems, participatory research approaches, how to stimulate behavior patterns, and even energy games. The authors conclude by suggesting areas of future research related to these themes.
Academic paper/Guidelines, Strategies and Recommendations
This academic paper seeks to understand citizens’ perceptions of the energy transition in communities in France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom and how to integrate these perspectives into the decision-making process.
France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom
Economic diversification/restructuring > Economic development plans
This academic paper investigates citizens’ perceptions of the energy transition and the kinds of roles they see themselves playing in its implementation. Through a series of cross-sectional community engagements and other research tools, the authors seek to describe how local communities can become empowered to drive project development and engage meaningfully in the low-carbon energy transition.
The authors examined six communities in five European countries. Participants felt that, as citizens, they had limited agency to participate in energy system reforms and that, as energy consumers, they were locked into a restricted set of false choices that do not grant them meaningful power.
The authors call for energy governance structures and organizational formats that are participatory, inclusive, and mindful of the lived experiences of local people. They offer a “characterization tool” to help communities assess the potential for energy democracy and citizen participation within six different types of participatory business models. They also offer recommendations for how these models can incorporate citizens’ perspectives into planning and implementation, using examples to illustrate how considering a broader range of stakeholder perspectives can promote more equitable energy configurations.