Renewable energy communities (RECs) are increasingly seen as key innovations for the development of decentralized energy systems that leverage on renewable energy co-production, sharing, and consumption. However, they still represent a niche in search of development and consolidation, and the social innovations they might bring to the energy systems need to be further scrutinized. Innovations related to the capacity to support forms of social entrepreneurship in the energy system are central to this analysis, even if they have been little studied in Italy in relation to the emerging field of renewable energy communities. Through a theoretical discussion aimed at fulfilling descriptive objectives, this paper examines, on the one hand, the social innovations related to community energy projects and, with a focus on Italy, the legal forms required to create an REC in the light of the constantly changing regulatory framework, where new actors, such as the Third Sector, can play a leading role as intermediary actors to develop the social implementation of REC initiatives. The paper navigates through the literature on community energy in the light of the social innovation they can bring to the energy system, discusses the niche condition of RECs, and addresses the Italian case with particular reference to the role of the Third Sector in disseminating REC innovations.

Niches Seeking Legitimacy: Notes about Social Innovation and Forms of Social Enterprise in the Italian Renewable Energy Communities

LORENZO DE VIDOVICH
2024-01-01

Abstract

Renewable energy communities (RECs) are increasingly seen as key innovations for the development of decentralized energy systems that leverage on renewable energy co-production, sharing, and consumption. However, they still represent a niche in search of development and consolidation, and the social innovations they might bring to the energy systems need to be further scrutinized. Innovations related to the capacity to support forms of social entrepreneurship in the energy system are central to this analysis, even if they have been little studied in Italy in relation to the emerging field of renewable energy communities. Through a theoretical discussion aimed at fulfilling descriptive objectives, this paper examines, on the one hand, the social innovations related to community energy projects and, with a focus on Italy, the legal forms required to create an REC in the light of the constantly changing regulatory framework, where new actors, such as the Third Sector, can play a leading role as intermediary actors to develop the social implementation of REC initiatives. The paper navigates through the literature on community energy in the light of the social innovation they can bring to the energy system, discusses the niche condition of RECs, and addresses the Italian case with particular reference to the role of the Third Sector in disseminating REC innovations.
2024
25-apr-2024
Pubblicato
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
De Vidovich_2024.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Documento in Versione Editoriale
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 507.57 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
507.57 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3074659
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact