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Innovation Dynamics of Socio-Technical Alignment in Community Energy Storage: The Cases of DrTen and Ecovat

Binod Prasad Koirala (), Ellen van Oost () and Henny van der Windt ()
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Binod Prasad Koirala: Energy Transition Studies, TNO Energy Transition, 1043 NT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ellen van Oost: Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies, University of Twente, 7522 NB Enschede, The Netherlands
Henny van der Windt: Science and Society Group, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands

Energies, 2020, vol. 13, issue 11, 1-1

Abstract: With energy transition gaining momentum, energy storage technologies are increasingly spotlighted as they can effectively handle mismatches in supply and demand. The decreasing cost of distributed energy generation technologies and energy storage technologies as well as increasing demand for local flexibility is opening up new possibilities for the deployment of energy storage technologies in local energy communities. In this context, community energy storage has potential to better integrate energy supply and demand at the local level and can contribute towards accommodating the needs and expectations of citizens and local communities as well as future ecological needs. However, there are techno-economical and socio-institutional challenges of integrating energy storage technologies in the largely centralized present energy system, which demand socio-technical innovation. To gain insight into these challenges, this article studies the technical, demand and political articulations of new innovative local energy storage technologies based on an embedded case study approach. The innovation dynamics of two local energy storage innovations, the seasalt battery of DrTen ® and the seasonal thermal storage Ecovat ® , are analysed. We adopt a co-shaping perspective for understanding innovation dynamics as a result of the socio-institutional dynamics of alignment of various actors, their articulations and the evolving network interactions. Community energy storage necessitates thus not only technical innovation but, simultaneously, social innovation for its successful adoption. We will assess these dynamics also from the responsible innovation framework that articulates various forms of social, environmental and public values. The socio-technical alignment of various actors, human as well as material, is central in building new socio-technical configurations in which the new storage technology, the community and embedded values are being developed.

Keywords: energy transition; community energy storage; responsible innovation; energy system integration; socio-technical innovation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q4 Q40 Q41 Q42 Q43 Q47 Q48 Q49 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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