Community and Cooperative Renewable Energy Powershifts

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= "The POWERSHIFTS project investigates the potential of community and co-operative renewable energy initiatives to shift existing political power structures".




"This project addresses how and why DRE transitions are shifting political power relations, and the consequences of those shifts for political systems and outcomes. Using an interdisciplinary approach grounded in theory on sustainability transitions (i.e. Multi-Level Perspective), power (e.g. Lukes, Foucault) and institutions (i.e. institutional logics) the project will: (1) examine the conditions leading to shifts in political power by analyzing existing political power relations in regimes where DRE transitions are expected, occurring, or stalled; (2) assess the mechanisms by which political power shifts resulting from these DRE transitions are occurring; and, (3) identify the consequences of DRE-related political power shifts for political systems and their outcomes." (


"We are searching for answers to 3 key questions:

* Are political power structures in OECD countries shifting?

Co-operatively and community owned renewable energy projects are beginning to compete with existing energy industries for market share and political voice. These new actors have the potential to disrupt existing decision-making patterns. It is important to know if political power shifts are actually happening because they will affect who has a say in defining energy and environmental policies.

* If political power is shifting, exactly how is that happening?

If we do see that power is shifting, what does this look like? For example, what will happen when co-operatives work together to lobby with one voice? How will these new lobby groups compete with existing energy industry lobby groups? How will politicians respond? Answering this question will help us to figure out exactly how political systems are changing.

* What does all of this mean for political systems and the policies that they produce?

If power is shifting, what will be the consequences? How will carbon and environmental targets change? In what ways will we see political instability as politicians try to figure out who should shape energy policy? Asking these kinds of questions will help communities, existing energy industries, new energy actors, and policy makers figure out how to plan for future." (