Social Innovation and the Energy Transition

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialScientificpeer-review

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The transition to low carbon energy systems cannot solely rely on technological innovation. It also requires social innovation. In the context of energy transition social innovation can be defined as innovation that is social in its means and which contributes to low carbon energy transition, civic empowerment and social goals pertaining to the general wellbeing of communities. This article presents the editorial comment of the special issue “Social Innovation and the Energy Transition”. It seeks to answer the questions, “what does social innovation mean in the face of energy transition, and what are its implications?” This special issue yields 20 article contributions by authors from different academic disciplines within the behavioral and social sciences. From these contributions, key topics relevant to social innovation emerge, pertaining to: (i) technological innovation leading to new market models, actor configurations, and institutional settings creating room for social innovation; (ii) new governance arrangements; (iii) community energy, its impact, implications, and social incentives and policy to empower it; (iv) new participative research approaches to test and learn from livings labs and best practices; (v) ‘green nudges’ to stimulate behavioral change; and (vi), serious energy games. The editorial ends with suggestions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number141
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • social innovation
  • energy transition
  • green nudge
  • community energy
  • community empowerment
  • renewable energy
  • energy governance
  • climate change mitigation


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