Collective energy practices: A practice-based approach to civic energy communities and the energy system

Nick Verkade (Corresponding author), Johanna Höffken

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38 Citations (Scopus)
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Civic energy communities (CECs) have emerged throughout Europe in recent years, developing a range of activities to promote, generate, and manage renewable energy within the community. Building on theories of Social Practice, we develop the notion of Collective Energy Practice to account for the activity of CECs. This expands the practice-based understanding of energy, which thus far has mostly focused on energy practices of the home. Additionally, we build on earlier practice-based thinking to come to our understanding of a ‘system of energy practices’. This view places the collective energy practices of CECs in a broader mesh of sites of practice, including policymaking, commercial activity, and grid management. Taking account of the enabling and/or restricting the influence of this broad system of energy practices is crucial in understanding the development of CECs’ practices. We accomplish this through the qualitative analysis of our long-term empirical research of five Dutch CEC sites, but also draw on our earlier fieldwork on smart grid projects in the Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3230
Number of pages15
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Civic energy communities
  • Community energy
  • Energy practices
  • Energy transition
  • Grassroots innovation
  • Local energy initiatives
  • Social practice theory
  • social practice theory
  • energy practices
  • grassroots innovation
  • energy transition
  • community energy
  • local energy initiatives
  • civic energy communities


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