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RenewableEnergyCooperativesandTheDecentralizationofElectricityProduction
Thomas BauwensCentre for SocialEconomy(HEC-ULg)Florence, 06/06/13
Outline
Thephenomenaofpath-dependenceandlock-in: application to theelectricitysectorTherolesofconsumersin theelectricityproduction
1.Path-dependence andlock-in
Introduction ofdynamicsin thealignment/coherenceframework(Fingeret al. 2010; Crettenand &Finger, 2013)ThreeconfigurationsconsideredPublicmonopoly,includingPPPCompetitionoverexistingnetworksCompetitionof networksDynamics = shiftfromone configuration toanotherBut the transitionfromone configuration toanotherimpliesimportantcosts,whicharisefromtheinertiaofpasttechnologicalandinstitutionalchoices
1.Path-dependence andlock-in
David and Arthur: technologiesspreadaccordingto an auto-enforcingprocessExistence ofincreasingreturnsto adoptionEconomies ofscaleNetworkexternalitiesLearningexternalitiesAdaptiveexcpectationsAdaptation ofthisframeworkto social institutions (North, 1991)
1.Path-dependenceandlock-in
The electricity sector as a socio-technical systemsystem characterized by strong relationships between technological, institutional, economic and socio-political factorsSocio-technical lock-inCombinedinteractionsbetweenthosefactorsthatmutuallyreinforcethemselvestocreateinertiain thetechnologicaltrajectoriesofoureconomies
1.Path-dependenceandlock-in
1.Path-dependenceandlock-in
Path-dependenceandlock-in
In coherence with thealignment/coherenceframework“Thereare innovative technologies that allow the production of electricity evenat the level of private households… Also, ICT and power electronics allow for opportunities of dedicated electricity supply according to theneeds and preferences of individual customers. If this technical development breaks through, a new technical paradigmwill occur that wouldfundamentally change the technological practice of this sector.This would allow for atechnical decomposition (i.e. fragmentation) of the electricity system.Obviously, this technological practice wouldfit much better to the institutional framework of aliberalisedmarket” (Künneke, 2008)
2.Therolesofconsumers
Crettenand &Finger(2013):threemainactorsInstitutionalactors(politicalauthorities,regulators,etc)Technologicalactors: have thepossibilitytoinnovateanddeveloptechnologiesMarketactors:providethe service of thegivennetworkindustryAnd…consumers!Thegovernanceof infrastructures ascommonpoolresources(Finger&Künneke, 2008)Place forThirdSectororganizationsin thegovernanceregimeConcept ofco-provisionvoluntary involvement of citizens in the provision and/or financing of publicly provided goods andservicesNetwork industries:services are usually provided byprivate firmsthatact withina framework ofgovernment regulation
2.Therolesofconsumers
“A new role for consumers—as energy suppliers in their own right—is one particular aspect of this potential step change. A pre-condition for this change is thediffusion of micro-generation technologiesinto the market which will dependonconsumers’ acceptanceof micro-generation technologies. The need for acceptance will in turn depend on the extent to which consumers areactively involved in the micro-generation deployment”(SauterandWatson, 2007:2771)This involvement depends in part on theinstitutional arrangements of ownership and control of the productionunits Role for renewable energy cooperatives
2.Therolesofconsumers
Byembedding technologies in social networks and fully involving consumers in the energy production,cooperativescould make the latter more willing to actively accept DGtechnologiesEnhancedpublic awareness and commitmentregarding energyissues andenergy technologiesEmpirical aspects of social acceptanceAttitudestowards suchtechnologiesElectricityconsumptionbehaviorsInvestmentsin such technologiesObjective: empiricalassessementof the enhancement of social acceptance

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Renewable Energy Cooperatives and Techno-institutional ...