Recent years have shown the emergence of numerous local energy initiatives (prosumer communities) in the Netherlands. Many of them have set the goal to establish a local and sustainable energy provision on a not-for-profit basis. In this study we carried out exploratory case studies on a number of Dutch prosumer communities. The objective is to analyse their development process, to examine the barriers they encounter while organising their initiative, and to find how ICT could be applied to counteract these barriers and support communities in reaching their goals. The study shows that prosumer communities develop along a stepwise, evolutionary growth path, while they are struggling with organising their initiative, because the right expertise is lacking on various issues (such as energy technology, finance and legislation). Participants stated that, depending on the development phase of their initiative, there is a strong need for information and specific expertise. With a foreseeable growing technical complexity they indicated that they wanted to be relieved with the right tools and services at the right moment. Based on these findings we developed a generic solution through the concept of a prosumer community shopping mall. The concept provides an integrated and scalable ICT environment, offering a wide spectrum of energy services that supports prosumer communities in every phase of their evolutionary growth path. As such the mall operates as a broker and clearing house between 2 prosumer communities and service providers, where the service offerings grow and fit with the needs and demands of the communities along their growth path. The shopping mall operates for many prosumer communities, thus providing economies of scale. Each prosumer community is presented its own virtual mall, with specific content and a personalised look-and-feel.
|Lectoraat||Energy & Management|
|Gepubliceerd in||ESEIA-IGS Conference 2014 Enschede, Netherlands, NLD|