Realising an accelerated expansion of renewable energy will require a shift from centralised to decentralised energy production and increased social participation – a concept known as ‘energy democracy’. The increase in energy democracy and social equity will be an essential part of the clean energy transition. The most common businesses associated with social innovation in the renewable energy sector are cooperatives, aggregators and crowdfunding platforms. These businesses help consumers to take a more active role in the electricity system. Achieving sustained growth in energy democracy requires a better understanding of support structures for successful social innovation across technical, legal and economic systems.
The european research project SocialRES aims to come up with more effective ways of increasing social innovation for greater social acceptance as well as more durable governance arrangements and socioeconomic benefits. Through research excellence and co-creation of knowledge with relevant stakeholders, SocialRES will develop socially innovative and inclusive strategies for the energy system of the future. SocialRES will supplement the existing fragmented data on social innovations with new insight from businesses, end-users and stakeholders to provide a comprehensive evidence base for policy design.
As part of the interdisciplinary SocialRES project team, adelphi will provide policy recommendations aimed at the regional, national and EU levels of government regarding the fostering and support of social innovation in the energy sector. To this end, adelphi will identify policy framework conditions that enable or hinder the development and diffusion of social innovations in the energy sector and assess the need for accompanying measures to support the acceptance of social innovations. adelphi will also initiate a dialogue with authorities that accompanies the implementation of relevant EU legislation recognising active customers and energy communities.