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A review of business models for decentralised renewable energy projects

A review of business models for decentralised renewable energy projects

Piterou, Athena ORCID: 0000-0003-4138-113X and Coles, Anne-Marie ORCID: 0000-0002-0383-9253 (2020) A review of business models for decentralised renewable energy projects. Business Strategy and the Environment, 30 (3). pp. 1468-1480. ISSN 0964-4733 (Print), 1099-0836 (Online) (doi:

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The diffusion of renewable energy technologies has often been suggested as a means to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, but emphasis tends to be placed on large scale projects. Adoption of renewable energy at the local level provides opportunities for both distributed energy schemes and domestic micro-generation. However, alternative models of ownership, governance and operation are not well developed. Locally managed energy solutions need to respond to varied end users’ requirements to ensure that needs are met, so understanding of different types of end users is a prerequisite to the development of robust business models. This paper presents a review of existing models of decentralised energy generation in which actors such as community groups, energy co-operatives, charities and municipalities participate as owners and co-producers. End users can become involved in the design, development and delivery of energy services in a variety of ways. The focus is active user engagement through co-construction, co-production and co-provision of energy services. The following categories will be reviewed with reference to current understandings of both sustainable entrepreneurship and social enterprise: a) energy service companies (ESCos) as commercial actors that undertake management of these projects b) energy co-operatives and c) municipal energy. This analysis is used to reflect on and refine understanding of the relationship between technical, financial and operational constructs in models of decentralised energy generation which can contribute to social and environmental gains.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: decentralised renewable energy; Community energy; energy service companies; energy co-operatives; municipal energy
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Systems Management & Strategy
Faculty of Business > Institute of Political Economy, Governance, Finance and Accountability (IPEGFA)
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2021 08:16
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None

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