Value dynamics in energy democracy: An exploration of community energy initiatives

A. Melnyk*, H.R.L. Cox, A. Ghorbani, T. Hoppe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


In the European Union, energy democracy (ED) is considered a socially desirable policy goal. One way to achieve ED is through empowering local communities to become agents of value change who can pursue more sustainable and equitable energy provision with community energy initiatives (CEI). However, such people-driven value change is complex in nature. CEIs are multifaceted sociotechnical systems that bring together sets of values and are composed of agents (i.e., people), technologies (e.g., solar panels), and institutions (e.g., renewable energy policies). Yet not much research is conducted into how values relate and overlap within this complex nexus of people - technology - institutions on a pathway to democratizing the energy sector through civic participation. In this paper, we spotlight value relationality to capture the diversity in the value landscape of people-driven energy transitions. We claim that each sociotechnical system has “climate” of its own, or value dynamics, induced by interrelating values. We propose an account that captures value dynamics, explores value sets brought together by the different sociotechnical components of CEIs and investigates various ways in which these value sets interrelate. To elucidate value dynamics in the context of CEIs, we have conducted a literature review, a content analysis of regional, national (i.e., Dutch), and EU policies, and expert interviews in two illustrative case studies. We finalize the paper with recommendations for further research on value dynamics in CEIs across various sociotechnical contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103163
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 2023



  • Values
  • Energy democracy
  • Sociotechnical system
  • Community energy
  • Value dynamics


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