Energy cooperatives and local ownership in the field of renewable energy technologies: A literature review
RiCC – research report 2010/4
With rising concerns over ecological sustainability as well as security of supply, the energy system has come under increasing pressure over the last years and various efforts have been made aiming at a transformation towards more sustainable systems of energy provision. At the grassroots level this has included the establishment of energy cooperatives and other forms of local or community based ownership of renewable energy technologies. Energy cooperatives have thus introduced new forms of socio-economic organisation to the system of energy provision.
This review is organised along these main themes treated in the literature. The first section following the introduction reviews literature on energy cooperatives by country. Countries were selected either because a significant amount of literature treats energy cooperatives and similar initiatives there (Denmark, Netherlands, UK, partly Germany) or because the countries are of particular interest for the further course of this research project (Germany and Austria). The following sections then present literature on institutional framework conditions, the ‘micro-level’ and the issue of public acceptance respectively. Each section or sub-section concludes with a summary of central points. A concluding section both summarises important points from the literature review and draws particular attention to issues that may be of interest for the further course of this research project and were not used as organising themes in the preceding sections.