Project

REsCO- Transformation of the energy system towards sustainability focusing on community-based activities

Start of Project 12/2018
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End of Project 11/2021

The willingness of private households to invest in green technologies and green electricity seems to depend not only on costs and environmental motivation but also on social norms and the social environment. Therefore, the project investigates the relationship between social factors and the use of green technologies. The study aims to generate new insights into how private households can be motivated to participate more actively in the transformation of the energy system. At the same time, REsCO contributes to a better understanding of the dynamics of diffusion processes.

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Update on the project´s process

In the project, three surveys were conducted, which focused on 1) the predictors of willingness to participate in a local energy community, 2) the characteristics that are particularly important when choosing between different community solutions, and 3) whether and if so, why individual privately-owned solutions are preferred to community solutions by homeowners. Initial results show, among other things, that homeowners generally do not have a consistently higher preference for investing in individual systems over energy communities, and that the preference for combined electricity and heat supply is strongest. The relevance of non-financial factors in decision-making was confirmed. Previous experiences of good acquaintances (i.e. recommendations) also play a major role. Based on the results of the surveys, possible transformation paths for energy communities are currently being identified and analyzed with regard to macroeconomic effects.

Preliminary results of the project

Figure 1 shows first results of the study concerning potential predictors of an intention to participate in an energy community. Psychological factors illustrating the local, community dimension of energy communities, namely social identity (collective efficacy, group norm, group identification), functional and emotional place attachment as well as sense of community are taken into consideration. Results highlight connections of social identity and sense of community with intention to participate. No significant relationship was observed between place attachment and intention to participate in an energy community.

Flagship-Paper

Wittenberg, I., Broska, L. H., Vögele, S., Shamon, H. (2019) Human Behavior and the Energy Transition – Explanatory Approaches in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology. REsCO Working Paper I.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3861602 .

Broska, L. H. (submitted): It’s all about community: On the interplay of social capital, social needs, and environmental concern in sustainable community action. In: Energy Research & Social Science.

Broska, L. H., Vögele, S., Shamon, H., Wittenberg, I. (in progress): Derivation of transformation pathways focusing on energy communities.

Wittenberg, I. (in progress): Collective options of energy transition on a local level: Psychological drivers of intention to participate in energy communities in neighborhoods.

Broska, L. H., Shamon, H., Vögele, S., Wittenberg, I. (in progress): Energy communities in neighborhoods: a promising alternative to individual solutions for homeowners?