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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Gridlocked: Sociomaterial configurations of sustainable energy transitions in Swedish solar energy communities

Envall, Fredrik; Andersson, Daniel; Wangel, Josefin


Local generation of renewable energy in energy communities has long been around, but has recently experienced an upswing. This upswing is partly due to the EU Clean Energy Package (CEP), where energy communities are introduced juridically as formal actors. Within this policy package, various values are attributed to local energy communities, particularly emphasising broadened citizen participation. Also in academic contexts, energy communities are assigned an important role for a just energy transition. Considering this increasing importance and policy prevalence, it is relevant to explore what types of energy communities exist and are emerging in light of the CEP, and which values these correspond with. We do so by exploring how Swedish solar energy communities are configured and what values they foreground, through the analytical lens of problematizations. Exploring how different configurations entail particular problematizations elucidates how certain values are constructed as relevant, possibly to the detriment of other possible values, thus deepening our understanding of solar energy communities' potential contribution to a just energy transition. We discern a pattern in that particular values related to energy system optimisation are foregrounded, rather than other values such as democratisation, indicating the existence of a broader hegemony that shapes configurations of Swedish solar energy communities.


Energy communities; Problematization; Configurations; Values; Democratisation

Published in

Energy Research and Social Science
2023, Volume: 102, article number: 103200
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
    Energy Systems

    Publication identifier


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