Energy communities are integral to achieving the European goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. While these communities are currently being emphasized as strictly place-based, with some states interpreting RED II’s proximity criterion stringently, our research offers a contrasting perspective: We argue that a sole focus on geographical proximity fails to capture the full contributions of energy community projects, especially those that function as communities of interest rather than merely as communities of place. In order to support this perspective, our study analyses data from 5402 responses and 31 semi-structured interviews from two main energy cooperatives: Ecopower in Flanders, Belgium, and ènostra in Italy, in both of which, members are not confined by geographical boundaries and are instead united by shared energy-related interests. Our findings indicate that these two organizations are pivotal to driving the European energy transition. The organizations effectively rally their members around a common identity, thereby fostering new norms, practices, and forms of social capital as well as offering a shield against the market’s prevailing logic. This observation becomes even clearer when considering the fact that the cooperatives have reached a significant level of business maturity, with Ecopower utilizing more resources for including and empowering participants and territories. Our research underscores the importance of re-evaluating the role of geographical proximity in energy policies and highlights the potential that interest-based cooperatives have when it comes to advancing sustainable energy initiatives across various geographical scales.

Do energy communities need to be local? A comparative study of two energy cooperatives in Europe / Dudka, Aurore; Magnani, Natalia. - In: ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR VERGLEICHENDE POLITIKWISSENSCHAFT. - ISSN 1865-2646. - 2024:(2024), pp. 1-23. [10.1007/s12286-024-00601-2]

Do energy communities need to be local? A comparative study of two energy cooperatives in Europe

Dudka, Aurore
Primo
;
Magnani, Natalia
Ultimo
2024-01-01

Abstract

Energy communities are integral to achieving the European goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. While these communities are currently being emphasized as strictly place-based, with some states interpreting RED II’s proximity criterion stringently, our research offers a contrasting perspective: We argue that a sole focus on geographical proximity fails to capture the full contributions of energy community projects, especially those that function as communities of interest rather than merely as communities of place. In order to support this perspective, our study analyses data from 5402 responses and 31 semi-structured interviews from two main energy cooperatives: Ecopower in Flanders, Belgium, and ènostra in Italy, in both of which, members are not confined by geographical boundaries and are instead united by shared energy-related interests. Our findings indicate that these two organizations are pivotal to driving the European energy transition. The organizations effectively rally their members around a common identity, thereby fostering new norms, practices, and forms of social capital as well as offering a shield against the market’s prevailing logic. This observation becomes even clearer when considering the fact that the cooperatives have reached a significant level of business maturity, with Ecopower utilizing more resources for including and empowering participants and territories. Our research underscores the importance of re-evaluating the role of geographical proximity in energy policies and highlights the potential that interest-based cooperatives have when it comes to advancing sustainable energy initiatives across various geographical scales.
2024
Dudka, Aurore; Magnani, Natalia
Do energy communities need to be local? A comparative study of two energy cooperatives in Europe / Dudka, Aurore; Magnani, Natalia. - In: ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR VERGLEICHENDE POLITIKWISSENSCHAFT. - ISSN 1865-2646. - 2024:(2024), pp. 1-23. [10.1007/s12286-024-00601-2]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/411730
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