What are community energy companies trying to accomplish? An empirical investigation of investment motives in the German case

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Community energy has become an increasingly important issue in academia and in energy policy circles worldwide. Citizens jointly investing in and operating renewable energy installations have played an essential role in countries such as Germany or Denmark. Building on and extending previous studies, we collect survey data on investment motives for a stratified random sample of German community energy companies. Structural variables are selected using a socio-ecological-technical systems framework. This study aims to identify differences within the community energy sector to better understand investment behaviour and the effects of policy changes. Despite the small sample coverage at the individual member level, the preliminary results of this study suggest that, first, community energy forms a specific type of social investment and that, second, there are significant differences between community energy companies, especially regarding the assessment of the return motive. This motive plays a more prominent role in limited partnerships than in cooperatives and for community wind than for companies focusing on solar or biomass. While these and other factors are highly interrelated, our data indicate that the social setting and geographical and climatic conditions are the critical ones here. These findings may guide further research.

ZeitschriftEnergy Policy
Seiten (von - bis)112-122
Anzahl der Seiten11
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.10.2016