Main content area

Creating niches – The role of policy for the implementation of bioenergy village cooperatives in Germany

Roesler, Tim, Hassler, Markus
Energy policy 2019 v.124 pp. 95-101
bioenergy, biomass, cooperatives, energy, governance, households, infrastructure, issues and policy, politics, socioeconomics, villages, Germany
Visions of alternative and more sustainable energy systems are commonly associated with the development and innovation of renewable energy technologies. Geels (2002) notes that regime transition is affected by a set of technological, socio-economic, organisational, political, institutional and region-specific dimensions that can be triggered by niche developments. Indeed, the transition toward a sustainable energy regime is strongly influenced by governance and regulatory frameworks extending from a global to a local scale, which set boundaries and incentives for the direction in which energy transition can evolve. Since 2007, several local initiatives have emerged in the county of Marburg-Biedenkopf in Germany promoting the use of biomass on a local scale. These initiatives successfully established locally owned cooperatives to run a decentralised heating supply infrastructure to supply their households. This paper highlights the role of multi-scalar policy processes that are allowing for the development of bioenergy villages and provides details on the role of regional and local policy processes. Supplementing the national policy framework with regional and local policy makers is a key factor in implementing bioenergy villages.