University of Sussex
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Developing community energy projects: experiences from Finland and the UK

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posted on 2023-06-08, 19:11 authored by Mari MartiskainenMari Martiskainen
Community energy has drawn interest from the general public, policy makers and researchers in the UK over the last few years. Community energy projects, such as energy saving measures and renewable energy projects, are usually organised by civil society groups rather than commercial businesses. This DPhil research approaches community energy as local grassroots innovation and compares its development in two different countries, Finland and the UK. Key research question is: Why and how do community energy projects develop and how do they contribute to niche development? The thesis uses Sustainability Transitions studies literature, especially literature on Strategic Niche Management (SNM), as a theoretical framing, and empirical in-depth analysis of four community energy projects, two in the UK and two in Finland. The research examines how community energy projects develop in ‘niches’. Research findings highlight that motivations for projects include monetary savings, energy savings and climate change. Projects are developed by pre-existing community groups or groups that have come together to develop an energy project. Local embedding of community energy projects to each project’s individual circumstances helps successful project delivery. Pre-existing skills and tacit knowledge such as the ability to seek information and fill in funding applications can aid success. Engagement with key stakeholders further shapes projects’ aims and objectives. Community energy projects benefit from a clear leader who works with a supportive team. There is evidence of projects networking at the local and national level in the UK, while in Finland networking remains limited to the local area and projects often develop in isolation. Furthermore, there is a clear lack of active intermediary organisations in the Finnish context. Policy discourse at the government level can aid the attractiveness of community energy, while continued funding support encourages more people to get involved in projects in their local areas.


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  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • phd


  • eng


HESA id = 1011620031946


University of Sussex

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