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The Role of Intermediaries in Supporting Local Low-Carbon Energy Initiatives

Beau Warbroek (), Thomas Hoppe (), Frans Coenen () and Hans Bressers ()
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Beau Warbroek: Twente Centre for Studies in Technology and Sustainable Development (CSTM), University of Twente, 7522 NB Enschede, The Netherlands
Thomas Hoppe: Organisation and Governance (OG), Department of Multi-Actor Systems (MAS), Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM), Delft University of Technology, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
Frans Coenen: Twente Centre for Studies in Technology and Sustainable Development (CSTM), University of Twente, 7522 NB Enschede, The Netherlands
Hans Bressers: Twente Centre for Studies in Technology and Sustainable Development (CSTM), University of Twente, 7522 NB Enschede, The Netherlands

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 7, 1-28

Abstract: Recent scholarly attention shows that grassroots civil society low-carbon energy initiatives increasingly become part of the subnational climate change governance landscape. Despite their potency in view of consumer-owned distributed generation and enhanced citizen influence in the organization of the energy infrastructure, local low-carbon energy initiatives (LLCEIs) struggle to become viable alternatives to the centralized, private oriented energy system. To further LLCEI development, support needs to build their capacities; alleviate institutional hurdles and barriers stemming from the fossil fuel-based energy regime; and open up the system for the uptake, acceptance or breakthrough of LLCEIs. Evidence suggests that so-called “intermediaries” form a part of the solution in addressing these issues. Despite previous attempts at analyzing intermediary roles and activities vis-à-vis the development of community energy, the reality of the various roles and strategies intermediaries can employ and the support LLCEIs require to further develop have not yet been synthesized in a comprehensive analytical framework. This article aims to fill this gap by developing such a framework. We reflect on the analytical framework by evaluating the intermediary support structure in a specific case: the Province of Fryslân. From the analysis, we conclude that the Frisian case provided modest support to the claim that intermediary support is effective in addressing the needs of LLCEIs as the strategies and roles observed represent a complete and coherent support structure.

Keywords: intermediary; community energy; grassroots innovations; endogenous development; strategic niche management; asset-based community development; business incubator (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:7:p:2450-:d:157768

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