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Open AccessArticle

Collective Action and Social Innovation in the Energy Sector: A Mobilization Model Perspective

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Department of Technology, Management and Economics, Technology Transitions and System Innovation Division, UNEP-DTU Partnership, UN City, Marmorvej 51, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
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Department of Technology, Management and Economics, Innovation Division, DTU-Technical University of Denmark, Akademivej Building 358, 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
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Department of Environmental Sciences, HVL-Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Postbox 7030, 5020 Bergen, Norway
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VITO-Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek, 2400 Mol, Belgium
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TECNALIA-Parque Tecnológico de Bizkaia, Astondo Bidea, Edificio 700, 48160 Derio, Biakaia, Spain
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UB–GREEN (Centre for Research in Geography, Resources, Environment, Energy and Networks), ICEPT (Imperial Centre for Energy Policy and Technology), Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
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Department of Culture, Politics and Society, UNITO-University of Turin, 10153 Turin, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2020, 13(3), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13030651
Received: 19 November 2019 / Revised: 10 January 2020 / Accepted: 24 January 2020 / Published: 4 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Pathways for Community Energy and Storage)
This conceptual paper applies a mobilization model to Collective Action Initiatives (CAIs) in the energy sector. The goal is to synthesize aspects of sustainable transition theories with social movement theory to gain insights into how CAIs mobilize to bring about niche-regime change in the context of the sustainable energy transition. First, we demonstrate how energy communities, as a representation of CAIs, relate to social innovation. We then discuss how CAIs in the energy sector are understood within both sustainability transition theory and institutional dynamics theory. While these theories are adept at describing the role energy CAIs have in the energy transition, they do not yet offer much insight concerning the underlying social dimensions for the formation and upscaling of energy CAIs. Therefore, we adapt and apply a mobilization model to gain insight into the dimensions of mobilization and upscaling of CAIs in the energy sector. By doing so we show that the expanding role of CAIs in the energy sector is a function of their power acquisition through mobilization processes. We conclude with a look at future opportunities and challenges of CAIs in the energy transition. View Full-Text
Keywords: collective action; social innovation; mobilization model; energy communities; energy collectives collective action; social innovation; mobilization model; energy communities; energy collectives
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gregg, J.S.; Nyborg, S.; Hansen, M.; Schwanitz, V.J.; Wierling, A.; Zeiss, J.P.; Delvaux, S.; Saenz, V.; Polo-Alvarez, L.; Candelise, C.; Gilcrease, W.; Arrobbio, O.; Sciullo, A.; Padovan, D. Collective Action and Social Innovation in the Energy Sector: A Mobilization Model Perspective. Energies 2020, 13, 651.

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