This paper analyses the development of community energy in the UK by comparing it to Germany in relation to decentralisation, scales and ownership structures particularly of wind energy. Varying approaches to energy generation at the community scale provide interesting insights into the impact of policy innovation as well as the capacity of national energy frameworks to foster socially innovative engagement practices beyond the purely technological diffusion of innovations. By examining interactions between technological and social innovations with the help of a qualitative analysis, opportunities for potential generators not traditionally engaged in energy generation to tap into these innovation systems are analysed. This paper suggests that greater commitment to diversification beyond the implementation of policy measures such as the feed-in tariff is required to provide communities with the capacity to develop new generation practices in terms of scale and ownership. The UK in particular is struggling to protect these new generation practices which allow communities to derive benefits facilitated by specific energy policy measures according to their potential. It concludes by indicating areas where niche protection might need to be expanded if community energy is to play a greater role in the UK's ambitious transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Global Political Economy
- Smart Networks for Sustainable Futures
- Urban Research Cluster
- Community energy
- Feed-in tariff
- Governance of innovation diffusion