Background

The Energy Transition cannot merely be defined as the re-organisation of energy production from fossil to renewable energy sources or the structural change of the energy system, driven by technology (renewables, smart networks, storage, etc.). It is a process encompassing a range of technological, economic, legal, political and social challenges, which will be addressed by new policies and regulatory framework including energy market design reform, emerging energy services and business models, new behavioural norms, etc.

Against this background, we can observe a “social turn”, both at the research and policy level, embodied by topics such as energy poverty and justice, citizen democracy and the energy “prosumer” (consumer who produces its own goods, here energy). The latter, in particular, becomes central to the promotion of renewables and their cost-efficient system integration as well as the overall acceptance of the energy transition.

Drawing back on various case studies showing that consumer (co)-ownership of renewables installations is a worldwide phenomenon, and by focusing on (very!) recent developments in the EU energy policy, this seminar discusses from an interdisciplinary perspective the opportunities and challenges tied to the emergence of those new market participants.