Activating Energy Communities for Systemic Change

A.M. Onencan, J.I.J.C. de Koning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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The speed of energy transition in the Netherlands is low, in contrast to its
2050 climate change target of net-zero emissions. The transition requires 7.5 million households with natural gas connections, to move to renewable energy sources. The main challenge is not technical, many viable options are already available, but social: people will need to be supported to decide and act. In this paper, we identify interventions that could activate change within energy communities, through 19 interviews conducted in March 2021 in Austerlitz, Zeist municipality, The Netherlands. Interview questions were guided by the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation, and Behavioural (COM-B) change model. The model explains factors that affect people’s behaviour. Results indicate that renovation and energy transition are viewed as two separate processes. Austerlitz homeowners are waiting for the government to lead the energy transition process, while they continue to renovate their homes to improve comfort, aesthetics, safety, and convenience. Also, current interventions towards activating households are piecemeal and more focused on creating external opportunities (such as financial support), and barely address the psychological
capabilities and motivation factors (belief, attitude, social norm, and perceived
behavioural control). To boost psychological capabilities and motivation, we
recommend interventions that enhance homeowners’ belief that the energy transition is part of their long-term home renovation plans, for their own benefit, to motivate them to drive the energy transition process. Interventions may include ‘show’ or ‘display’ houses where energy transition was combined with renovations and highlighting inspirational energy transition stories on the municipality website.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScience, Technology and Society : Conference Proceedings of the STS Conference Graz 2022
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Issues in Science, Technology‚ and Society Studies 2-4 May 2022
EditorsGünter Getzinger, Michaela Jahrbacher, Franziska Häller
PublisherTU Graz
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-85125-932-2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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