The project SocialRES aims to facilitate the transition from centralised to decentralised energy production and to achieve greater social participation in the European energy system by promoting energy democracy through social innovation in the renewable energy sector. This toolkit will help in this process as it can be used by both policy makers and practitioners to give social innovations and their impacts a stronger role in the policy process.
Governments and agencies at different levels across Europe are increasingly using data from policy impact assessments at different stages of the policy-making process. However, systematic assessment frameworks are rarely used, particularly in the area of social innovation in renewable energy. The toolkit presented in this paper responds to the need of policy makers and experts for easy-to-use methods to conduct impact assessments for energy cooperatives, aggregators, and crowdfunding platforms.
Applying the taxonomy to several cases illustrates how social innovation in the energy sector can benefit the local environment, economy, and society - replicating the findings of previous studies on the impact of social innovation. It also shows how different elements of the taxonomy can play various roles and be applied diversely depending on the administrative level examined. This underscores the flexibility of the taxonomy to choose different foci and conduct policy impact assessments with different available data.