The merits of becoming smart: How Flemish and Dutch energy communities mobilise ICT to enhance their agency in the energy transition

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Abstract

Recent developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and ongoing digitalisation processes play key roles in the energy transition. It is often argued that these so called ‘smart grids’ have the potential to empower citizens and communities and thereby contribute not only to a more sustainable but also to a more democratic and fairer energy system. It is however unclear how the increasing number of frontrunner energy communities that enter the field of smart grids can benefit from these novel ICT solutions and meaningfully contribute to the sustainable energy transition. This paper explores how energy communities can mobilise ICT to enhance their agency in the energy transition. Two energy communities were closely followed over a period of three years. Data was collected during project meetings and through semi-structured interviews. This paper observes that energy communities can mobilise ICT to change the way technology operates, strengthen collaboration to increase collective agency and to support their institutional work aimed at creating, disrupting or maintaining institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusSubmitted - 7 Jan 2021

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