Community energy groups work incredibly hard to design and deliver projects for their communities. They often have to work in ‘unfavourable’ policy conditions and market contexts. Their role is often sidelined and, at times, ignored. Yet they often perform hugely important work as ‘intermediary organisations’, working between novel technologies, governments, regulations, industry and householders.
In this article, written by one of our Directors, Jake Barnes explores and substantiates a view of community initiatives as intermediary organisations. He suggests they may undertake a variety of roles, such as the provision of advice, project management, finance and coordination, coordinating demonstrations or lobbying, supporting network-building, knowledge dissemination, or providing training and skills development. In doing so, Jake argues community groups play an important role in deploying novel, low carbon technologies in their local communities.
The article, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, is based on insights gained from working with the Bristol community energy groups. Bristol Green Doors and Easton Energy group are featured directly, whilst insights from working with Demand Energy Equality and Bristol Power Coop inform the paper. The paper argues that successful groups are highly effective at recognising opportunities, flexible in their approach and willing to learn as they go.
The local embedding of low carbon technologies and the agency of user-side intermediaries