Distributed Energy Systems and Energy Communities Under Negotiation

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New decentralized energy-generation technologies have turned economies of scale upside down while becoming more economically viable. At the same time, the increased penetration of information technologies has led to new opportunities to manage infrastructure in a less hierarchical, more flexible way. Together with citizen demands for control over energy, these two converging trends has put energy communities (ECs) on the agenda, potentially advancing the transition towards more sustainable energy systems, despite hindrances encountered on the way. This paper presents a case study of the planning process of a sustainable city district in Sweden, using participatory observations and interviews conducted with included stakeholders. We analyse how the included stakeholders has reasoned about establishing a sustainable energy system in the area, including a microgrid. The discussions on a microgrid comprised two parallel discourses, coexisting but seldomly explicitly confronted. The distribution system operator in the area promoted a distributed energy system (DES) solution, while the property developers opted for a microgrid organized more as a citizen energy community (CEC). We discuss why the CEC proponents so far has lost the battle of creating a community owned smart grid. We conclude that the different models, a DES and a CEC, comprise different values and an increased focus on energy communities could shift the transition pathway towards a more decentralized system involving other prioritise than just economical.

TidskriftTechnology and Economics of Smart Grids and Sustainable Energy
StatusPublished - 2021 dec

Bibliografisk information

Funding Information:
An early version of this article was presented at the European Association of Social Anthropologists 16th Biennial Conference, 21 July 2020. We wish to thank everyone who contributed to and helped to develop the article. The research has received funding from the Kamprad Family Foundation under the gran number 20182014 and the Horizon project NEWCOMERS under the grant numer 837753.

Funding Information:
Open access funding provided by Lund University. This work was supported by the Kamprad Family Foundation project Resistance and Effect with grant number 20182014 and the Horizon project NEWCOMERS under grant number 837753.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Energisystem


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