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Crowdfunding niches? Exploring the potential of crowdfunding for financing renewable energy niches in the Netherlands

Eleftheria Vasileiadou (), Boukje Huijben () and Rob Raven ()

No 14-11, Working Papers from Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies

Abstract: TThere is a huge gap between demand and supply of finance for energy transitions, and the financial and economic crisis have had a negative impact in the already meagre funds for transforming the energy system towards renewable resources. In this paper we explore whether crowdfunding can provide an adequate business model for the creation, nurturing and upscaling of renewable energy niches. We empirically investigate crowdfunding initiatives and platforms linked to renewable electricity projects in the Netherlands. The main conclusion is that the volume of crowdfunding today is low, but the dynamic of these projects holds potential. There is limited indication of learning processes until now, as well as limited support from regime actors, pointing at a low level of niche stabilization and break-through potential, which may however be related to the early stage of development of crowdfunding in the Netherlands. On the other hand, the heterogeneity of crowdfunders is very promising. Platforms dedicated to renewable electricity exclusively, and with an investment based business model seem to be the most successful. We show how governmental market regulation and support mechanisms are shaping crowdfunding as a business model, and discuss the implications for other countries.

Keywords: renewable energy; crowdfunding; sustainability transitions; business models; up-scaling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene and nep-ppm
Date: 2014-11, Revised 2014-11
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