Literature review week 3

New energy for Energyplan Texel 2030

This is a research based report and can be characterized as a feasibility study for a self-sufficient energy system on Texel in 2030. The article maps the current energy demand of the island specified in different sectors, as well as the expected figures in 2030. Furthermore some basic energy-demand reducing principles are stated, but these are mainly restricted to households and the built environment in general. However, the real focus of this research is on the production of renewable energy in small and large scale solutions. The small scale solutions again focus only on the built environment, while the large scale projects are placed in the context of the whole island, or system as one might say. The large scale energy systems are elaborated in 3 ways: fully, quasi and partially self-sufficient. The outcome of the research might be disappointing for our research, but at the same time this outcome is slightly short-sighted. The research states that a fully self-sustainable energy system in which everything is produced on the island itself is not feasible with the current state of technological development.

A self-sufficient system based on wind energy is however feasible, but this requires large amounts of windmills and these would only compensate in order to achieve carbon neutrality. Although technical feasible, it is not likely that there’s enough public support for such large scale wind energy projects. Finally the report concludes that 1/3 of the energy demand can be produced on the island itself, but this can be more depending on the amount of wind energy applied.

The biggest disadvantage of this is that it´s not written in English language while the information it provides is very useful for all of us, but not up-to-date. The report provides some useful figures related to the energy use and demand of the island specified in different sectors, but above all it gives comprehensive data in how feasible different renewable energy production techniques really are. This can be very useful to every subsystem that relates to energy.

Although the research gives good data for sustainable energy production, it does not deal with other facets and is only based on a technical feasibility. A lot of technical data can be found that may support our research. However, this course is about designing a socio-technical system and thus the report can only provide a part of the basis of our design solution.

Other important topics for our research are time and scale. In what time will our design(s) lead to a fulfilled sustainable solution? This report aims for 2030, and even by then it is “not feasible”. Does this mean that we should focus on politics, economics and maybe even on the willingness of people to embrace all the needed windmills? Or can technology from TU Delft make a difference in the energy problem.

That would still rises questions regarding the effectiveness of small scale interventions; this report does not give data about them. Data from these smaller interventions regarding energy production, but also reducing of energy demands in the built environment might contribute to a better feasibility.


Review by Jesper Goorden


Grassroots innovations in community energy 

This paper presents the first in-depth analysis of intermediary work in the UK community energy sector. It focuses on how intermediary actors engage with the diverse forms of grassroots innovation being developed within the field of community energy in the UK.

According to the author grassroots’ is ‘‘a neglected site of innovation for sustainability’’.

Grassroots differ from the mainstream market innovations on terms of district organizational forms, resource bases, divergent contextual situations, alternative driving motivations and the pursuit of qualitatively different kinds of sustainable development. They can be ecovillages, eco-housing, local food systems and energy systems.

Also, the term “strategic niche management” is mentioned in the text. That is a theory of how innovations develop and grow and how those processes can be harnessed strategically so as to challenge and potentially replace existing sociotechnical systems.

Geels and Deuten identify three key roles for intermediary actors in niche development, each of which involves managing the flows of knowledge between local projects and the emerging global niche level. The first role relates to the ‘aggregation’ of knowledge from across a broad range of local projects, the second into an ‘institutional infrastructure and the third role sees a ‘reversal’ in the relationship and knowledge-flows between local projects and the emerging global niche.

The rest of this paper therefore focuses specifically on intermediary actors in relation to a particular area of grassroots innovation: community energy projects in the UK. It outlines the UK community energy sector, and details the methodological approaches which employed, like interviews and case study report collections.The results of this methodology following Geels and Deuten’s model, however except from the three key roles, UK community energy intermediaries are increasingly playing a fourth, new role in which they are seen to broker and coordinate partnerships with actors beyond the niche.

That means that community energy intermediaries can no longer focus solely on internally building local community energy projects, but must actively try to work beyond the community energy sector – brokering partnerships and engaging in lobbying activities – to try and shape the wider contexts (whether local, commercial or policy) in which community energy projects exist.


Specifically, the analysis has shown, first, that learning must be seen as a constant and ongoing process both for local community energy projects and for intermediaries themselves. Second that building institutional infrastructures is extremely difficult when diverse interests are in play. Third, that framing and coordinating local projects involves lots of resource intensive work to build confidence and capabilities and to respond to and attempt to shape local and policy contexts. Fourth, that community energy intermediaries are increasingly engaging in a process of forming partnerships and lobbying with the wider social world.


Regarding texel is obvious that it requires different kinds of support to encourage, for instance reductions in energy consumption.(face-to-face mutual learning, workshops, partnerships with local community groups, behaviour change initiatives etc.)

Also, all these theoretical approaches about grassroots could be combined with locals opinions, taking into consideration interviews findings and people necessities in order to develop sustainable solutions of diverse scale project like renewable sources or improvements in the energy efficiency of the housing stock, small-scale renewable electricity technologies, solar photovoltaic cooperatives etc.


Review by Lemonia Karagianni


* Unfortunately our third group member decided to quit the course. This means there’s no review of the third article of this week. 


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