The financial entanglements of local energy projects
journal contributionposted on 16.12.2014 by Yvonne Rydin, Simon Guy, Chris Goodier, Ksenia Chmutina, Patrick Devine-Wright, Bouke Wiersma
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There is currently an expansion of local energy initiatives, underpinned by the desire to reduce energyrelated carbon emissions and in recognition of the importance of the local arena to achieving such change. Much of the research on these initiatives has been framed by a conventional economic approach, identifying barriers, drivers and incentives to explain their emergence (or not). Here a new economic sociological approach is taken which sees markets as socio-materially constructed and points to the importance of tracing exchange flows and determining modalities of valuation for such exchanges. Artefacts or market devices are seen to play a particular role in connecting actors and technologies within coordinating institutional arrangements and offer the potential for making innovative projects conventional. These aspects are explored in four international case-studies from Wales, Sweden, Germany and USA, mapping relations, identifying exchange flows, pinpointing how artefacts coordinate and showing the multiple modalities of valuation involved in each case. Conclusions concerning the importance of negotiation against a market backdrop and rendering exchange flows more certain are drawn.
This paper is based on research undertaken under Sustainable Urban Environments programme Phase 3 funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), [Grant number EP/1002170/1].
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering