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Article

Exploring Institutional and Socio-Economic Settings for the Development of Energy Communities in Europe

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Department of Cultures, Politics and Society, University of Turin, 10153 Turin, Italy
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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, Denmark
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Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Cultural Industries, University of Parma, 43125 Parma, Italy
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VITO, Boeretang 200, 2400 Mol, Belgium
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TECNALIA-Parque Tecnológico de Bizkaia, Astondo Bidea, Edificio 700, 48160 Derio, Spain
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GREEN Research Centre, Bocconi University, Via Röntgen 1, 20136 Milan, Italy
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IREES, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 6, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands
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Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, 30-962 Krakow, Poland
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Tartu Regional Energy Agency (TREA), 51009 Tartu, Estonia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Svetlana Ikonnikova
Energies 2022, 15(4), 1597; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15041597
Received: 6 July 2021 / Revised: 28 January 2022 / Accepted: 7 February 2022 / Published: 21 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition and Social Innovation)
Energy communities (ECs), intended as collective action initiatives in the energy field involving citizens’ participation, have been gaining relevance for the past decades as an alternative way to organize the energy chain to challenge the incumbent system. With Europe’s recently adopted Clean Energy Package, ECs found a formal recognition by the European Union as potential actors of the transition of the energy system towards a wider and more decentralized use of renewable sources. Although the potential role of ECs in the transition is therefore hardly questionable, a thorough comprehension of the enabling factors that might foster their diffusion and scaling up is still lacking. Through a comparative analysis of the evolutionary trajectories in six EU countries regarding their energy systems, their regulatory frameworks and their historical evolution of ECs, namely through the example of cooperative models, this paper aims at providing some preliminary evidence about the factors and dynamics that seem to have played, and may play, a role in hampering or facilitating EC model diffusion. Attention is therefore specifically paid to three dimensions of analysis referring to: the energy mix and market structure; the institutional and policy landscape; the wider social attitudes towards environmental issues and cooperation among citizens. In addition to providing a wide comparison of different EU countries, the paper shows that the historical evolution pathways have to be carefully taken into account to understand what might trigger ECs exploitation in the EU. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy communities; renewable energy sources; regulatory framework; energy systems; comparative analysis; energy transition energy communities; renewable energy sources; regulatory framework; energy systems; comparative analysis; energy transition
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sciullo, A.; Gilcrease, G.W.; Perugini, M.; Padovan, D.; Curli, B.; Gregg, J.S.; Arrobbio, O.; Meynaerts, E.; Delvaux, S.; Polo-Alvarez, L.; Candelise, C.; van der Waal, E.; van der Windt, H.; Hubert, W.; Ivask, N.; Muiste, M. Exploring Institutional and Socio-Economic Settings for the Development of Energy Communities in Europe. Energies 2022, 15, 1597. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15041597

AMA Style

Sciullo A, Gilcrease GW, Perugini M, Padovan D, Curli B, Gregg JS, Arrobbio O, Meynaerts E, Delvaux S, Polo-Alvarez L, Candelise C, van der Waal E, van der Windt H, Hubert W, Ivask N, Muiste M. Exploring Institutional and Socio-Economic Settings for the Development of Energy Communities in Europe. Energies. 2022; 15(4):1597. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15041597

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sciullo, Alessandro, Gregory Winston Gilcrease, Mario Perugini, Dario Padovan, Barbara Curli, Jay Sterling Gregg, Osman Arrobbio, Erika Meynaerts, Sarah Delvaux, Lucia Polo-Alvarez, Chiara Candelise, Esther van der Waal, Henny van der Windt, Wit Hubert, Nele Ivask, and Marek Muiste. 2022. "Exploring Institutional and Socio-Economic Settings for the Development of Energy Communities in Europe" Energies 15, no. 4: 1597. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15041597

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